The Incredible Tetrahedron! A Deeper look into Carbon Allotropes and Hybridization
This is an elegant activity that illustrates how a cube collapses into a tetrahedron based on Buckminster Fuller’s wonderful demonstration that ‘cubes do not exist in nature’. [ Fuller demonstrates that cubes are not self-supporting structures and he imagines what structure God, (the ultimate architect), would use to build a universe. He shows that a cube collapses into a hexagon and also 2 tetrahedrons, (stable structures in 2 and 3-D).] We now know that atoms, the building blocks of the universe, morph or hybridize into various triangular geometric shapes.
I’m not going to lie, this activity is meant for higher level chemistry and physical science classes. However, building these templates and seeing how these structures collapse and form new structures is an experience that I believe every student should have – the younger the better. I believe that younger student can and should experience the wonder of math and geometry even if they are not ready for an explanation. (Also, I don’t think that we as educators need to understand and explain everything – there is nothing more inspiring to a student when they see an unexplainable, but fascinating phenomena.)
This activity includes diagrams and illustrations that I hope are appealing to a wide range of ages. However, teachers can choose to omit them if they like. Also included is a Common Core ‘Depth of Knowledge’ and grade level range ‘sliding’ indicator to help students visualize the relevance of their work.
The Incredible Tetrahedron! A Deeper look into Carbon Allotropes and Hybridization What you get…
Activity cover sheet
Background and instructions
Activity write up worksheets
-Depth of Knowledge and; Grade Level Slide Indicator Graphics
This unit activity meets or exceeds 21st Century and STEM learning expectations, and Common Core learning outcomes. Note: although ZIP-labs fulfill many CCSS, specific CCS standards are not listed because ZIP-labs are designed to be used over many graded levels so the specific CCSS may be different depending upon these factors. For a list of CCSS in your state please visit- www.corestandards.org
Working to change STEM to STEAM.