Chemistry 20 Experience

Below I have added some of my experiences while teaching Chemistry 20 this semester. Any sheets used in class are linked through the title of each activity.

Major Species/Entities Kinesthetic Activity

The following sheet was given to students as we worked through the concept of major species/entities in solutions. I used the classroom as a mock beaker and gave 8-10 kids a blue pinny to resemble water. The rest of the students stood at the back of the room (the top of the beaker). I would have them link arms, to resemble the different atoms (or ions) in the compound being discussed. Once they were “poured” into the beaker, they would either:

1. Split apart and float through the solution, if they were a soluble ionic compound, or a strong acid

2. Stay together and float through the solution, if they were  a soluble molecular compound, or a weak acid

3. Stay together and sink to the bottom if they were a slightly soluble – or insoluble – ionic compound, an insoluble molecular compound, or a piece of metal

demonstrating the major species in the beaker.

Bonding Tug of War

After discussing the difference between an ionic, polar covalent and non-polar covalent bond with the students I used a rope, with two ping pong balls attached in the middle (to represent electrons) to play bonding tug of war. The purpose of this activity was to demonstrate to students the nature of each type of bond.

1. If one person completely removed the rope from the others hands, we have an ionic bond because we have had a full transfer of electrons

2. If one person dominates the tug of war (has a stronger pull) but does not remove the rope from the others hands, we have a polar covalent bond because the one atom, with the higher electronegativity, has a stronger pull on the electrons and there is unequal sharing of the electrons

3. If the tug of war is still, then we have a non-polar covalent bond because both atoms are equally sharing the electrons.

Bonding Tug of War


Over two periods the students engaged in activities to familiarize themselves with the 3D shapes of molecules. Students were given model kits, which they could use to build various molecules to see their orientation in 3D. Perhaps more memorable, we participated in VSEPR Yoga! Students were asked to make the various shapes with their bodies. In one period, we practiced making the shapes with the model kits and our bodies. The following class, we played “Mr. B says …” (a spin off of the classic child’s game “Simon says …”). On cue, students would engage in the activity by making the shape that Mr. B said, however, if they made the wrong shape or made a shape when Mr. B did not say, they had to sit down and wait until the next round.

IMF Stations

Students were given several stations to go through to solidify their understanding of intermolecular forces present between molecules.

The IMF card sorting (to the left) is credited to Peggy Au.

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Gases Unit Hooks

The following activities were used to hook students into the gases unit, while also teaching students about Boyle’s and Charles’ Laws. Students were then asked to explain why the can crushed with respect to Boyle’s and Charles’ Law.

In this demonstration, students were asked to use Boyle’s and Charles’ Law to describe why the lid of the paint can blew off.

Using Boyle’s & Charle’s Law, as well as Kinetic Molecular Theory, students were asked to explain how the egg is pushed through the flask and why the when placed in the vacuum it came out.

Kinetic Molecular Theory Activity

  • Each participant blows up a balloon of any shape, size, or colour
  • The size of the container is determined by the class but it can be adjusted to become larger or smaller
  • Solid state-hold balloon and vibrate, Liquid state-hold, move balloon, rotate ballon, gas state-tap balloon upwards and keep balloon off the floor
  • When “Absolute Zero” is called, all balloons are in each participant’s hands.  All molecular motion ceases.
  • When the container’s temperature is “heated”, participants must move faster around the room with their balloons
  • When the container’s temperature is “cooled”, participants move slower throughout the room
  • If a door is opened, some participants move out of the room with their balloon

Activity credited to Peggy Au.

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