Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chemistry for Kids, Part 1: The Fun Stuff

The Fun Stuff for Lesson 1/Week 1 is below, as promised:

Activity: Make a 1-D model of water H2O using construction paper cutouts, above. (Cut them out ahead of time,  label them with H's and O's, put pieces in a snack-sized Ziploc bag for easy classroom distribution, and have kids glue them together- glue sticks are quick and not so messy). 
The ability of elements to form molecules gives us many different types of matter, such as water. Explain if you could see the tiniest parts of water, this is what it would look like, made up of three atoms and O gets 2 H's because it's so big, it wants to bond with 2 friends, 2 H's. When all these little molecules come together, you see water- hold up some water, a just, a cup, a glass, whatever you have.

Explain a bond in everyday terms: it's when you're close to someone, like your mom or dad or a best friend, and you just want to be with them. In the same way, elements like to hang out with one another and "bond" as well.

Activity: Show how Carbon forms chains and bonds similarly to the parts of the water molecule- stand in a straight line using long end-pieces from foamy puzzles (or just have kids join hands) and explain how Carbon/elements want to "share" their electrons, have kids share their foamy pieces, "electrons", by having each hold one end, or explain that their hands are the electrons that Carbon wants to share.

Activity: Properties of matter-Point to different objects in the room and have kids describe it, hard, soft, color, texture, shape, smell, hollow, etc.. Write the words on the white board. Give examples: glass is see-through, Aluminum is lightweight, Honey is viscous (thick), rubber is flexible, water is generally cold. Visuals are always great.

Activity:States of matterHave kids stand around in a group to do demonstrations:
Solid- stand close together and move around very slowly
Liquid- stand a little farther apart and move a little faster, floating your arms like waves
Gas- stand way apart and move around, jump around like crazy, bounce gently into walls
Plasma- (just discuss, no demo) most common form of matter, Lighting, flame, stars; the particles of plasma usually have an electric charge.

Activity: You will need 3 Ziploc sandwich bags, water something solid that will fit in the Ziploc bag (I used a building block), a clear glass or cup, and paper towels for clean-up. Fill one bag with the water, one with the solid, and the third. air, and seal up tight. Let the kids examine the bags. Then with the solid ask them if it takes up space. Take it out of the bag ask them if it changes shape. Put it in the cup ask if it changed shape to fit the cup. Have them hold it. Then ask does it have weight? Ask them if you were to drop it on the table would it pass through the table? Do it, and then ask them why it didn't. They should respond because they are both solid. 
Holding up the water bag ask them if it takes up space. Hand them the bag and ask if it has weight. Does it have a shape? Now open the bag and pour some of it into the cup. Did it change its shape to fit the cup? Ask them what would happen if you poured some on the table. Pour a little on the table and ask them what happened- they'll love this part; spilling on purpose?! *gasp*. 
Holding up the bag of air ask them if it takes up space. Hand them the bag and ask if it has weight. Not much but there is some. Ask them if it has shape. Ask what would happen if you opened the bag. Open the bag and let some out. Did it change shape? Where did it go? Explain that it couldn't wait to get out and spread out, filling the room.

Experiments/Craft(Do whatever time allows)
1. Have kids make a collage of solids, liquids & gases from mag clippings. If you can find plasmas, great! If not, having them draw a star, or some lightning will do, or, just leave it out- your call.

2. Fill a glass jar with sand- I borrowed from our sandbox. Ask the children if there is still any space in the jar. Now fill a measuring cup with water and allow the kids to take supervised turns adding what they can to the jar. Ask the children how much water was added to the jar by asking them to subtract the quantity left in the measuring cup from the original amount. Watch for bubbles coming up and out near the lip of the jar, this is the water pushing the air out as it fills the space. Also, watch for the seepage of water as it travels down the jar, making the sand a darker shade. The amount of water added represents the amount of space left in the jar. Discuss with the students the idea that there is always space around particles. There is space around each atom or molecule of any substance/anything. Also, think: Solid (sand), Liquid (water added), Gas (the air being pushed out as bubbles).

3. Make a Lava Lamp:
 A glass or plastic bottle with a cap
Vegetable Oil
Alka-Seltzer (store brand) broken into several pieces
 A funnel

Do these steps in the exact order as laid out, or it won't come out right. First fill the empty bottle ¼ full of water using the funnel to keep from making a total mess. Next add food coloring. (An added fun step here...on the back of most food coloring boxes there is a chart that shows you how to mix the colors to make even more colors like purple, orange, lime green, etc. You can take this opportunity with your kids to learn about mixing colors and have some fun with it!) Fill the remaining ¾ of the bottle with vegetable oil, leaving about 1" empty from the top of the bottle. The kids will be tempted, but tell them DON'T SHAKE! Add Alka-Seltzer piece- Kids can do this part, just emphasize that they are not to put it in their mouths!! I gave their parents a packet of Alka-Seltzer to take home so they could do the demo again at home. Again, think: Solid (Alka-Seltzer), Liquid (oil and water), Gas (the bubbles created from Alka-Seltzer being dropped into oil/water mixture, causing the "lava" blobs to float).

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