Particulate Models in Video

We are encouraged to use modelling these days and I have some activities to share along with some videos that might help you in the process.

I use a lab for my high school general chemistry course called “May the Force Be With You” written by my friend, Angie Slater, and published on the Target Inquiry Web site. Part I of the lab guides the students through collecting data and explaining what they have seen. Part II provides a more open ended format and students have to make some decisions about collection and analysis of data. I use the lab to help students make the connection between the properties of ionic and molecular substances and intermolecular forces (IMFs). Students should be able to compare melting and boiling points of ionic vs. molecular compounds and explain why there is a difference.

An important component of this lab is the recommended videos to be used as students work through developing explanations. I had not used these videos before I tried this lab for the first time. I find myself using this resource frequently now when questions come up in class referring to properties of water, density, solutions, phase changes and/or polarity. The videos are a part of Inquiry in Action on the American Chemical Society Web site. There is a text by the same name that correlates to the material. There is a print version available, but it is also all available on the site. The text and related activities are written for the K-8 community, but I found some to be valuable when remediation is necessary at the high school level. The lab I mentioned above, takes advantage of the videos. Within the section called Physical Change in Solids, you can find several short clips of salt and sugar each dissolving in water. Within the States of Matter section you can see clips of phase changes of water. Other sections provide great visuals for mixing polar and nonpolar substances in water, clips that explain the special properties of water and visuals for chemical reactions. Even if you don’t use the videos in class, you might consider linking the site as a resource for students to use on their own.

There are several other labs at the Target Inquiry site related to these topics, including "The Force", "Sticky Water" and "Sticky Ions". I have used "The Force" and it is useful to make connections between length of carbon chains and IMFs. I will be using the other two soon. There are a couple others that I haven't fit into my own curriculum yet, but you may want to take a look at them.