Science Practice: Developing and Using Models

Will a Watched Pot Ever Boil? A Simple, but Effective, Chemistry Lab: Constructing a Heating Curve of Water

This lab guides students through taking data and constructing their own heating curve for water. It requires no special equipment, is low prep, is safe, and can even be done at home for homeschool or distance learning. Even though the lab activity itself is relatively simple and straightforward, the concepts still engage students in higher level thinking and gives them important practice with laboratory techniques and forming hypotheses.

A Polystyrene Model of Polystyrene Tacticity

Thin sheets of polystyrene can be patterned with permanent markers to represent repeating units of the polymer and then shrunk down in size using heat. The shrunken models of the repeating units can be connected with a string and then flipped into positions to demonstrate different types of polymer tacticity.

Analogy Experiment—Projectile Pennies with Rutherford

Atomic theory is a common topic throughout any introductory chemistry course. It is likely that Rutherford’s gold foil experiment gets at least some attention in your course. This simple activity gives students an opportunity to replicate Rutherford’s experiment through an analogy experiment that may allow for easier conceptualization of the experiment itself and provide additional support for model development.