In this blog post, I'll discuss how I've expanded my use of model kits within my chemistry class to help explore a variety of topics with my students.
It was the empty terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach at 9:30 at night that really bothered me as I am wading through the stack of papers that I was grading. I had the students do experiments, worksheets, I lectured and there was homework. Some of the students could “do” what I thought was science. They could calculate the answer. They could balance the equation.
What is the best way for students to visualize compounds? From the traditional physical ball and stick models to the various online simulations the objective for all of these tools is to provide one with a visual for the different structures and patterns. This summer while facilitating a workshop, the participants and I discussed this question and while reviewing various representations we came across MolView.
A quick search on Amazon for a package of 144 ping pong balls and a trip to the arts and crafts store for paint, magnets, and glue and I was ready to start making my own class set of model kits.
I hate to sound like a broken record but I used two activities from Grand Valley State Target Inquiry Program that worked amazingly well and had a great "flow". Chad Bridle wrote two inquiry activities that dovetail together. The first is "Change You Can Believe In". Students are presented first with nine cards that are particulate drawings of changes that occur in matter.
There have been many conversations within the Chemistry Education community surrounding the revisions to the AP curriculum. Twitter has been buzzing with instructors debating how to implement the changes, conferences and workshops have participants deconstructing the data from last year’s exam, and classroom teachers are working diligently to prepare their students for this year’s test. One way the College Board has tried to shift the AP curriculum away from algorithmic problem solving and toward more meaningful conceptual understanding is through the use of particle diagrams.
This POGIL- Like density activity is suitable for online instruction.
This lab was written as part of the Target Inquiry program at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Students build an electrochemical cell, learn about the symbolic equations used in electrochemistry and manipulate a model representing the particulate level of what is happening during the electrochemical process.