I Lava Particulate Models

I Lava Particulate Models preview image with red blob dripping around title and a lava lamp

The Intermolecular Force Lava Lamp Lab is a beloved activity among our first-year chemistry students. By integrating particulate model scaffolds into the classic Lava Lamp Lab, we aim to make the concept of intermolecular forces more accessible, reducing cognitive load and improving overall comprehension.

I initially presented this lab at the ChemEd X Symposium during the 2022 BCCE conference. As the 2024 BCCE conference approaches, I'm excited to share this presentation again for those who couldn't attend (see Video 1). It offers a glimpse into the rich content shared at BCCE conferences. If you are an educator seeking innovative approaches to teach particulate models and intermolecular forces, this video presentation provides valuable insights and resources. View the Presentation and Resource.

Lava Particulate Models

Video 1: Lava Particulate Models - BCCE presentation


This lab not only captivates students but also reinforces their understanding of intermolecular forces. Every year, conducting this lab with my diverse first-year chemistry class leaves me with a sense of fulfillment. Witnessing students enjoy chemistry and tackle challenging questions warms my heart. Everything starts to “click” for students during this lab.


Don't forget to mark your calendars! The 2024 BCCE conference will be held at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, from July 28th to August 1st. Early bird registration ends on May 31st, so seize this opportunity to join us! Check out the BCCE website to register. Keep an eye out for ChemEd X contributors, who will once again share their knowledge and experiences at the 2024 BCCE conference.



General Safety

For Laboratory Work: Please refer to the ACS Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety in Secondary Schools (2016).  

For Demonstrations: Please refer to the ACS Division of Chemical Education Safety Guidelines for Chemical Demonstrations.

Other Safety resources

RAMP: Recognize hazards; Assess the risks of hazards; Minimize the risks of hazards; Prepare for emergencies