Atoms and Molecules

Sometimes, just sometimes, it is possible to hit on just the right way to put forward an idea as to make it seem so simple.

Chemistry was not my strong point in school.  I was able to churn out what I needed for exams but as I’ve been reading with Sam I am aware I didn’t have the deep understanding.  So back to basics, a bit of reading, a bag of American hard gums, some marshmallows and cocktail sticks and not only does Sam understand molecular bonding but so do I!

We started off recapping structure of atoms.  Then took this a step further and looked at the arrangement of electrons into shells.  We made some paper plate models by folding the plate in half and trimming around the middle making sure to leave it attached at the top and bottom.  For the atom with 2 shells we cut another ring into the outer section of the plate.  Then we glued pompoms onto the plate for the particles.  Red for protons, green for neutrons and pink/purple for electrons.  This table is very handy.




We then read the sections in the book and encyclopaedia about molecules.

To show how the bonds were made we took an American hard gum to represent an oxygen atom nucleus.   We broke a cocktail stick on half and stuck the two pieces into the gum.  This was the first shell which can have a maximum of 2 electrons.  We then stuck in 8 sticks for the second shell which can have maximum 8 electrons.  We checked on the periodic table how many electrons oxygen has, 8, add added these (mini marshmallows) to the sticks filling the first shell before starting on the second.

20150120_110Can clearly see the outer shell is missing two electrons,  So we made two hydrogen atoms.

20150120_67We then joined them together to show how the atoms share pairs of electrons.  A water molecule.


This was obviously too much fun to only do 1.  So we made ammonia and carbon dioxide too.

20150120_7220150120_75We then decided we preferred to eat the rest of the sweets.  So we looked at the chemical symbols for some common molecules.  We sorted out some Lego to represent come elements.


Then we built limestone, quicklime, sodium bicarbonate, water and a few others I’ve now forgotten.

20150120_86 20150120_87

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