Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Covalent Bonding and Bonding practice

Yesterday students learned about covalent bonding and used their knowledge of valence electrons to draw structures and connect unpaired electrons with other unpaired electrons to 'hold hands.' Students also practiced writing formulas and naming covalent compounds with prefixes. They practiced by making new BFF (Best friends forever) to get a 'bathroom pass' with. This is because in our simulations, anions, negative ions, represent girls, and a lot of the times it seems that girls need friends to go with them to the restroom. Everyone got a good giggle in and did some excellent covalent bonding with very few mistakes.

Today students learned a few more key terms like monatomic, diatomic, and polyatomic molecules. We discussed polar and non polar covalent bonds and how they share their electrons. POLAR BEARS DON'T SHARE is the way to remember that polar bonds are when electrons are shared unequally. Water is a polar molecule because oxygen doesn't share its electrons equally with the hydrogens. This is why water is sticks together in long drops when it drips.

Students practiced more covalent and ionic bonding and seemed to have very little trouble with it. We are looking at a test at the beginning of next week after a bit more practice.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ionic Bonding

Today students practiced ionic bonding by doing a little speed dating. Each student chose an element that was an anion or cation, designed a little person to embody that element, and recorded some basic information about the element based on its placement on the periodic table.

Students then took turns 'speed-dating' with other students by criss-crossing charges, bonding, and naming the ionic compounds they formed. Students were able to practice writing formulas, naming, when to use roman numerals, which ion goes first and more. To the right, Elijah takes advantage of Angie's height as they bond their elements.

After one round, students changed from positive to negative (or negative to positive), made another identity and then practiced bonding all over again. By working with various partners, they were able to help each other work out the problems and answer each others questions. If you look closely, you can see the girl that Kyle drew to be an anion, a negatively charged ion. His cation personality was a man wearing a tophat and a mustache.

Tomorrow students will learn and practice covalent bonding and I have a feeling that more speed-dating is in the works.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chemical formulas

Today students reviewed Lewis dot structures and how to find charges. Everyone has a good handle on this and did well on their little quiz.

Students learned how to decode the charges of the metals in the middle. Transition metals, inner transition metals, and metals under the stairs do not follow any sort of pattern when it comes to charges, so they are always given (or you can figure them out) based on a code of Roman Numerals.

Today we also discussed how to write chemical formulas, and what the numbers associated with a chemical formula mean. Coefficients are the big numbers in front and are distributed to the whole molecule (which means you may have to multiply). Subscripts are the little lower numbers and they indicate the number of atoms and only apply to the atom it is to the right of. Students wrote their name as a chemical compound and thought it looked pretty interesting. Some students have long formulas, other short. Even twins do not have the same chemical formula.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Valence Electrons

Students did very well on their Unit 2 Test on the periodic table and were happy to receive their grades.

We have now moved on to Unit 3 Bonding and Nomenclature. Students picked their own groups and had new teams to work with.

Today we learned about valence electrons, how to find them, and why they are important. Valence electrons are the outermost electrons and they are important because they participate in reactions and help you identify an atom's potential charge.

Once you know the number of valence electrons, you can use that information to figure out which noble gas that element wants to be like (noble gases are hip, cool, and happy because they have a full 8 valence electrons), and if they need to gain or lose electrons to be like that atom.

After learning the information, students participated in some practice and then whiteboard jeopardy. Kelsea and Angie led the practice round, but the boys (Kyle, Ryan, Justin, and Elijah) won in competition. Congratulations. Students will have a small quiz on this material tomorrow and will learn more about bonding and molecules.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Computer Lab Day

Today you are going to be working on a variety of online learning, puzzles, and games. Please go in order and record the required information. If you are somewhere other than these pages or this website, then you will be removed from a computer.

Yes, I have given you more than you could possibly do (well, unless your name is Patrisha). If you have internet access at home, feel free to try more of these or go sign up for zero block tomorrow. Your Unit 2 Test is tomorrow.

To play the games, right click on the underlined text and choose "open in a new tab."

1. Periodic Table Jeopardy Grab someone near you and play together (this is the only game to be played with partners. Otherwise play by yourself. Spelling does count in this game. Record your score.

2. Element Math Game Choose 10 questions, and yes for the rounding question. Record your score.

3. Shepard Software Games
A. Choose "Element Matching Game." Record your score.
B. Choose "Level 1 - Beginner - Common Elements." Record your score.

4. Bubble Game Test you knowedge of noble gases, alkali metals and halogens. Record your score after each round.

5. Chemistry Battleship Change the computer setting to easy. Try to sink the opponent's ships while answering chemistry questions. Did you win?

6. Matter Millionaire Record your high score (two play maximum)

7. Matching Game - Check off that you completed it.

8. Free Rice - Test your knowledge of elements and their symbols while donating rice to the UN World Food Program. Record the amount of rice you have donated as well as your skill level.

9. 23 Element Matching Game - Check off that it is complete.

10. Element Crossword Puzzles - Pick one and try it. Record how you do.

These don't work (But I need to save them somewhere else. They may work on your personal computer)
David Whizzy's orbital filling and view
Build Atoms

You sunk my battleship! (the electronic configuration version)

Battleship, a classic game by Milton Bradley, is a game easily adaptable to learning electronic configuration.

Electronic Configuration is a mathematical calculation proposed by Schrodinger as a way to predict where to find an electron around the nucleus in the electron cloud model.

We learn it as a way to give directions to an element following a pattern going across and then down on the periodic table.

There are four main parts of the periodic table known as orbitals. The S block, P block, D and F. Within each block, you just count over how many spaces it is.

So to identify Hydrogen you would say 1s2 because it is in the first period, in the s block, and the first member of the first block.

Everyone seemed to get this concept, but there was a little confusion (as I expected). Playing battleship was an excellent way to really practice identifying electronic configuration and get straight some of the silly oddball rules. I don't think the students realized how much they practiced as they attempted to sink destroyers, submarines and battleships. Here Angie concentrates as she attempts to sink one of Elijah's boats.

The test for Unit 2 on the Periodic Table will be on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fireworks and Metal Lab

Today students performed a laboratory experiment that involved metals and their electrons. Students had watched a video clip the previous day about the making of fireworks (this video is in the bar to the right if you want to learn about the makings of fireworks too (or relive it if you've seen it already)).

Gunpowder is used to get things going and explode the firework into the sky. The gunpowder in different parts of the wrapping also helps explode the fireworks outward so that the colors spread.

Different metals are used to produce different colors in fireworks. This is because of the electrons of the elements. The more excited the electrons become the more light will be produced. This also affects the color that is produced. Red colors have the least amount of energy. Blue and purple have the most amount of energy.

I took photos during the lab, but had some trouble capturing the intensity and brightness of the colors. Just ask a student how cool it was. :)

For more information about fireworks, check out the following links and watch the video in the sidebar. - Chemistry of Firework colors
Thermodynamics - Fireworks

Other Metal Lab Clip

Blurry, but easier to see colors produced. This is from Chris and Kyle. And as Chris points out in the audio, this flame is dangerous and beautiful.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today students took their first benchmark covering material from Units 1 and 2. Questions were modified from actual SOL questions and designed to make the students think and apply their knowledge.

Although the average score is passing, many students will find they did not score as high as they would have liked. We will be reviewing the test as well as the material on Monday.

We will finish the notes on for Unit 2 on Monday and students will review concepts for a few days before taking the Unit 2 Test on Thursday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Periodic Table and Electron Shells

Students have been learning about the periodic table and all the parts, regions, periods, groups, and more. There is a lot of terminology that goes with this awesome tool. In zero block practiced some of these concepts by playing Guess Who. I picked an element, and they took turns asking yes or no questions using the correct terminology to narrow down 118 elements down to one. Students enjoyed the game and we will be playing it again to review terminology.

During class today students practiced identifying periods, groups, and special families. Students reviewed the 'Dudes' (important scientists) and the discoveries and models they formulated and then took a tiny quiz for assessment.
Student discussed properties of metals, nonmetals, and metalloids and learned where to find them on the periodic table. Despite technical difficulties information was conveyed. We finished class with a discussion about electron shells and where electrons can be found in the electron cloud and how this correlated with the way the periodic table is set up. Everyone seemed to get it and we will know for sure when we talk about homework tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beanium? Is that a real element?

Today students started a new unit on atoms and periodic table. Students were assigned a short reading over the weekend from the Idiot's Guide to Chemistry about atom models and the scientists who studied atoms. Thank you to the students who completed the homework.

Students started today's class with a BrainPop about atom models and took the quiz. Kaitlin and Chris rocked the quiz with a 10 out of 10! Students then took noted and drew atom models for the different scientists. We had some interesting discussions about spending your life studying atoms and how that may or may not seem like a waste. All of the scientists we discussed have received Nobel Prizes for their work in chemistry.

Atoms are really tiny and we need special microscopes to see them. Here is a neat website with pictures of atoms on a very small scale. This is an atom of Xenon on a Nickel surface.

Next we discussed atoms, the particles that make them up, and some basic identification. Students were given a sample of beans (Beanium) that represented an atom and asked to determine which atom it could be by counting the subatomic particles. Finally students made up their own sample of Beanium that another student will be checking tomorrow.

Friday, September 4, 2009

End of the Unit

Today students tested their knowledge on endothermic and exothermic reactions, vapor pressure and specific heat, and some SOL questions before taking their test.

Kyle, Kristina, and Katelyn tied for first place with Cassidy, Kelsey, and Ashleigh on the SOL practice questions. They each only missed one question. Everyone else did well on the questions too.

Students took the test and then worked on late and missing assignments. Students then worked on Marshmallow Madness - applying scientific principles to a Marshmallow.

Students have a reading about atoms to complete over the weekend and we will start Unit 2 Atoms on Tuesday.

Have a fabulous Labor Day weekend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Calorimetry Lab

Today students saw specific heat and heat capacity in action! This is almost all of the equipment it took to perform this lab.

Students used a calorimeter to measure how much the temperature of a metal changed over time and measured how much the added metal changed the temperature of water. By doing this, students can see how metal heats up quickly and water takes a long time to cool down. They had to do a crazy calculation to figure out the specific heat.

Students have a test on Unit 1.5 on Friday and all work is due at that time!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Today we did a lot of different things. We started off reviewing solutions (homogeneous mixtures) and suspensions (settle over time and need to be shaken). Then we watched a Brainpop about chemical and physical properties. After finishing the movie, we had a little contest to see who could correctly identify whether a characteristic was a chemical or physical property or change. Cassidy, Ashleigh, and Kelsey got all of them correct!

We did another small contest seeing if students could identify the difference between substances and mixtures. If it was a substance, then it had to be classified as an element or compound. If it was a mixture, then it needed to be classified as homogeneous or heterogeneous. Patrisha won that contest as a team of one - go Patrisha!

Then we covered some notes on heat, endothermic and exothermic, and the difference between specific heat and heat capacity.

We finished the class with a game of SWAT! Students had to identify parts of the phase change diagrams by swatting the part of the graph that answered the question I asked. This also helped a few students who were having trouble with the graph. The right side team (I think Yellow) won by only one point.

Students will be doing a calorimetry lab tomorrow to measure specific heat and have a Unit 1.5 Test on Friday.