Upper El (11/16-20): Making Molecules
This week we repeated the writing assignment of writing speeches, learned how to make molecules, and felt the difference between Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions.
We learned a lot the previous week from writing speeches, and I wanted to give students another week to integrate that knowledge. Writing dialogue is a great tool for writing stories, and after working on these speeches, everyone's ready to start putting conversations into their stories.
For Tuesday, I made a little game to help students visualize and play with the idea of how atoms come together to form molecules. After a short lesson on the topic, I sent them all off to make molecules with the paper atoms I made. After they created one, we would look up that molecule (if I didn't know it) and see what it was all about.
Of course, everyone wanted to make the most dangerous and deadly molecule they could... so I showed them the simple combination of Hydrogen, Carbon, and Nitrogen, which makes Cyanide. We also got a lot of laughs when someone created the molecule for Urea!
To say that everyone blew me away is an understatement. Soon after starting, everyone quickly picked up how to write molecular formulas for their molecules—which I did not plan to teach. I thought my little game of making molecules would last about thirty minutes, but we ended up spending the rest of the day on it! I'd say it was a hit.
Our next lesson on chemical energy was to explain the two main outcomes of reactions. Reactions either release heat, or they remove heat from the world around it. Everyone got to feel this with an instant cold pack, and the following morning they had hand warmers to experience the other result. We learned the big words of Endothermic and Exothermic.
We had a lot of fun on Friday with Thanksgiving and Birthday celebrations, but we also had many of our class share their speeches and previous stories.
When we return from break, we'll enter the world of spies and how chemistry played its part!