Making Chemistry Visible with Doug Ragan

Many chemistry teachers use models and diagrams to help students describe how matter behaves at the particle level. On April 14, 2022, Doug Ragan explained how he uses colored magnets in his classroom to represent things such as subatomic particles, states of matter, balancing chemical equations, types of bonding, molecular geometry and much more. You can view a recording of his presentation below and access materials he uses. 

Making Chemistry Visible with Doug Ragan

ChemEd X Talk Recording: Edited video of Doug's Talk - Making Chemistry Visible, ChemEd X Vimeo Channel (04/15/2022)


Access to Materials 

Read Doug's previous ChemEd X blog posts, Chemistry Magnets - Making Chemistry Visible and Representing Molecules, for further discussion and ideas about his use of magnets and other ways of representing the particulate level. A variety of models for download are available below. Links to a variety of materials he mentioned in his presentation are also listed below. 

Doug mentioned his use of Target Inquiry activities. Many of those activities use particulate level models. He specifically referenced World in a Box, Change You Can Believe In and The Only Thing Constant is Change. Access to these activities is free. Register to access Target Inquiry activities.

Flinn offers assorted colors of molecule magnets that Doug has used for $12 - $13 for a package of 20.

There are a variety of magnetic sheets available for purchase if you plan to print your own. Many teachers have used this brand from Amazon.

If you print on paper and laminate, you can add magnets to the back. Doug has used these magnets from Amazon.

As Doug mentioned in his presentation, he has painted cardboard with this Rustoleum Magnetic Primer.


About Doug

Doug Ragan in front of white board

Born and raised in Newport News, Virginia, Doug attended Longwood University and obtained his BS in Chemistry with a secondary teacher certification. He taught Chemistry, Pre IB Chemistry, and AP Chemistry at his alma mater for 6 years before leaving to obtain his MS in Chemical Education from Purdue University. Doug is in his 23rd year of teaching at Hudsonville High School in Hudsonville MI teaching chemistry, chemistry concepts, and organic chemistry. During this time, he has blogged for ChemEd X, is a member of AACT, on the National Mole Day Foundation Board, and is the co-creator of Molympics. He has written articles for Chem13News and presented his work at the state and national levels several times. Check out Doug's ChemEd X blog and What Not To Do Lab.

To find the schedule of future ChemEd X Talks as well as more recordings of previous Talks, see ChemEd X Talks, ChemBasics Talks - Schedule and Recordings.