Building molecules is a fun and enriching activity for any science class. This fun 3 page EDITABLE ACTIVITY
with ANSWER KEY is designed to take students through the building of simple molecules using any molecular model building kit (ball and stick) that contains C, H, N, O and S atoms. The activity handout provides a chart of bonding capacities for these atoms. The handout also directs students to build 16 molecules and provides a corresponding chart that instructs students to draw both the ball-and-stick diagrams as well as the structural diagrams for each molecule.
THE MOLECULES TO BE BUILT IN THE ACTIVITY:
H2, O2, N2, CH4, NH3, H2O, CO2, C2H6, C2H4, C2H2, C3H8, C3H6, H2CO, H3COCH3, H3COH, SO2
(Apologies for lack of subscripts in the description. The handout for the activity has full subscripts.)
This activity should be conducted after explaining the concept of bonding capacity and after getting the students to examine their model kits and showing them how to attach their bonds. It is useful to emphasize that if students want to create double or triple bonds, they will need to use the longer flexible bonds instead of the shorter ones. I also get more success when I get them to always ask "Is every atom happy?"; meaning has every atom in the molecule fulfilled its bonding capacity.
This activity engages students of all levels and gives them plenty of practice at building molecules as well as drawing them.
Before doing this activity, students will need to know how to count the number of atoms in a molecule.
Below is a useful worksheet that helps them practice counting atoms in molecules.
Counting Atoms in Molecules - Worksheet
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