Intermolecular Forces

Punk Rock, Longboards and Mad Science

It all started with a class my son and I took together at Marc Adams School of Woodworking (link is external). To make a long story short, we started on a Saturday morning with nothing and left Sunday afternoon with a custom built longboard. (Think skateboard but...well...longer).

Magic Sand

In this Activity, students compare the behavior of Magic Sand and ordinary sand. They then predict and observe how new substances will interact with Magic Sand based on their observations. The Activity illustrates solubility principles, and the terms hydrophilic and hydrophobic. It also allows for extension into the practical realm, where students formulate real-world uses for Magic Sand.

Out of Thin Air: Exploring Phase Changes

This Activity illustrates sublimation/deposition with dichlorobenzene (mothballs) and evaporation/condensation with water. This Activity could be used to introduce the phases of matter and phase changes at both the macroscopic and microscopic levels.

Rubber Bands, Free Energy, and Le Chatelier's Principle

In this Activity, students compare the temperature change of a rubber band that is quickly stretched compared to one that is quickly relaxed. They predict what effect the stress of heating will have on a stretched rubber strip and test their prediction.

On the Surface: Mini-Activities Exploring Surface Phenomena

In this Activity, students investigate surface tension and surfactants. They count the number of drops they can place on a penny, attempt to make a "square" of drops, and create bubbles using differently-shaped wands. These mini-activities could be used to introduce surface tension and surface area when discussing properties of liquids and gases.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

In this Activity, students first create a standard bubble solution by mixing water with liquid dishwashing detergent. They then add different substances to samples of the detergent solution. The solutions are compared to see which produces the longest-lasting bubbles. The Activity is a fun way to introduce the concepts of surface tension, intermolecular forces, and the use of surfactants.