Inquiry, "Sticky Water" and some great models...

Sticky Water Lab

What am I doing to help kids achieve?

How do I know when they are there?

What is the evidence?

    I just completed covering "ionic and covalent" bonding with my studenets. I wanted to bridge the gap to intermolecular forces. I found a great lab called   Before I continue, I have to provide "full disclosure". I spent three years with the Target Inquiry Program at Miami University Ohio (). There is a lab called "Sticky Water" that was written  by a teacher in the Grand Valley State program. First, the activity focuses on just water, then ethane, then ethanol.  

    Students were able to use magnetic water molecules. The activity did a great job of helping to nail down polar bonds and hydrogen bonding. Students also did some modeling with ethane and ethanol. The modeling kit is a bit expensive, but in my opinion, worth every penny. Many TIMU labs are a bit long (10+ pages) which makes them a bit tough to grade. However, most of these labs have teacher "checkpoints". These checkpoints are places where as a teacher I can check with students and, based on their understanding, sign off or not sign off and these checkpoints that can be counted for part of their grade. There are "Going Further" and "Assessment" questions that try, and often do, summarize the main points and check for misconceptions.  
     Overall,  I would recommend this and many of these guided inquiry labs. Students spoke about hydrogen bonding and intermolecular through the checkpoints. Many of the written responses they correctly answered and some they did not. The lab allowed students to show their understanding and ask questions not just through the written word but also through the spoken word of the checkpoints. Even if students did not get the exact correct answer on paper, many were able to explain their understanding through words and the models. Sure, it can be tough to grade. I believe it is fair for the teacher to count the checkpoints and some of the questions instead of having to grade every single written answer to every question.
     I would encourage you to take a look at these activities.  They are well researched, target inquiry, student centered and hit many well documented misconceptions.  If nothing else, I would really encourage you to check out the water model kit. Kids worked really well with them and they were the start of some great conversations.  

There is also a “velcro version” of the activity if you cannot get the model kits.)

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Comments 2

Tracy Schloemer's picture
Tracy Schloemer | Sat, 01/23/2016 - 17:33

Thank you for posting! I wasn't terribly happy with learning experiences I tried last year in this arena (especially modeling dissolving). I like the misconceptions that are addressed in the dissolving ionic compounds activities (ions are CHARGED, polyatomic ions stay in tact).

FYI - This book is great-

This pick has been discussed before on ChemEdX, but I wanted to point out that there's a lot in here to tackle misconceptions in particulate notation.

Chad Husting's picture
Chad Husting | Mon, 01/25/2016 - 10:06

Love the comment.  Ironically I just got the book you suggested and absolutely love it.  My next blog is about that very book.  I used parts for pre and post assessment.  Overall, my kids did not do great on the test but most said, "Hey this stuff is hard..." instead of "Hey, I have no clue...".  My goal is to keep on coming back to bonding anyway I can to continue to hit the same themes.  As an aside, I hope to go to BCCE.  Still trying to line up the funding  but if you are there, would love to get together and talk shop.  Thanks again for the comments...