An Interesting Way to look at Reactions....

Reactions chart from Atomsmith

What are we doing to help kids achieve?

I really like "Atomsmith.co".  It has several nice features. I have blogged about this resource before. First, I like that it is an affordable modeling program that can be placed into the hands of students. Phet simulations are nice but I found that they do not work on all formats. We went to 1 to 1 Chromebooks. There are some HTML 5 Phet simulations but not as many as I would like. Atomsmith works really well on Chromebooks and other platforms. Students can manipulate molecules, add water, do experiments, heat solutions and examine intermolecular forces all on the particulate level. Another nice feature is the "Experiment" section. There are a number of guided activities, usually never more than a page or two. I have found them to be great supplements for activities, experiments and demonstrations.

 A group of students started to investigate types of reactions. We did the "Types of Reactions" experiment from Atomsmith. Students were able to examine a number of reactions in different groups and "watch" the reactants form the products. They could see bonds breaking and forming and the energy changing.  There was one unexpected part of the experiment that I thought was amazing. Here it is....

Used with permission of Bitwixt Software Systems, the developers of Atomsmith® Classroom.

 I have never seen types and patterns presented this way but it makes sense. First, for most students I tend discuss the typical five "patterns". The "types" that are presented (oxidation reduction, precipitation...) are typically an AP topic in our school. Students still ask questions and throw around the term "redox". The great part about this chart is that as a teacher I can still show the five patterns and then mention the "types" as a topic that we might get to later or as an advanced topic. This is a nice chart also for differentiating instruction. As a teacher, I am able to use this to go a little further if I feel the class is ready for it. When asked about the chart, here is what Dave Dougherty from Atomsmith said....

"Regarding the chart: I'm glad that you see its value. I spend a lot of time looking at how various concepts in chemistry are taught and I put a lot of thought into how things can be improved. 
I noticed that presentations of what I (and others) call types and patterns of chemical reactions are all over the map -- even in textbooks. I realized that "types" and "patterns" are actually orthogonal descriptions of reactions -- they can't be mapped onto each other in a linear fashion. So I developed the chart to clarify the relationships between types and patterns. (...then I developed a bunch of 3D models that embody them.)" - Dave Dougherty

I have to agree with Dave on this one. There seem to be many ways to show reactions. You might want to check this one out. The chart is versatile and a nice reference tool that can be used throughout the year.