Activity

Molecule modelling free play

Summary
Students are given molecular model parts. They can build suggested real molecules and find out the function of what they have built, or can make up their own.
Science content
Chemistry: States of Matter, Properties of Materials (K-7)
Chemistry: Atoms, Molecules (3-7)
Materials
  • molecule model pieces. I limit to black carbons, red oxygens and white hydrogens, maybe with some blue nitrogens, along with grey bonds. All made by Molymod
  • sheet of molecule functions (see attachment) or separate molecule cards with drawings, or the internet
Procedure

Allow students to play with the molecule models.
They can build molecules from images and learn about the function of the molecules they build.
They can make up their own. I encourage them to fill all the holes on the molecules, so that their molecule is more likely to be stable. Sometimes students will make something that can be looked up and described, but often they will build larger structures that don't exist. These models have a similar appeal to lego.

A superb book discussing the function and uses of simple molecules, building into complex: Molecules by P.W. Atkins, published by Scientific American Library

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Gr 7
Teaching site
Eton Arrowsmith Camp
ingridscience afterschool
Tyee Elementary