In an effort to strengthen conceptual understanding of chemical phenomena, I have developed several activities using Legos ®. I use these activities in my Physical Science, Chemistry, and AP Chemistry Courses. Creating and interpreting these models allows students an opportunity to use particle representations to solve problems and to communicate scientific phenomena. These activities involve application of the big ideas of Advanced Placement Chemistry ®. Specifically, these are designed to strengthen understanding of the following: the chemical elements are the building blocks of matter, which can be understood in terms of the arrangements of atoms; chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the structure and the arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules and the forces between them; changes in matter involve the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons; and bonds or attractions that can be formed can be broken.
How does a battery work? Where do the electrons go? What about the ions? Using legos to simulate the operation of an electrochemical cell allows students to "see" the answers to these questions and many more!