Friday, September 30, 2011

Inquiry Based Ionic Compounds Lesson

I am so excited about the lesson I conducted this morning! Engagement. Learning. Oh, so great.

I spent approximately 2 hours yesterday preparing this lesson. I created a word document with a variety of elements represented in Lewis Dot Diagram format, arrows, regular element symbols along with charges and numbers that could be used to create the ionic compound formulae. Then I printed out enough copies to have 5 groups going at a time so that they could work in smaller groups to manipulate the pieces and learn from each other. The elements that become positive ions were blue and the negatives were pink - this because I gave them a periodic table to keep in their binders that is blue and many of them coloured the non metals pink when looking at the periodic table in the back of their textbooks.

So this morning we went into a larger classroom that I had booked so that they would have the space to work. It seemed a bit harder to get them to settle down to give instructions, but the space was nice to have. I demoed the use of the manipulatives once for them and then asked them to get into groups of 3-4 (so that there were 5 groups). I gave them a set of the papers and then asked every group to create the same compound. I would give them time to work on it and go around and observe, scaffolding where necessary. It was great to see them so engaged and to see the ones that understood it well teaching their peers and helping them through the process. I wish I'd had my camera with me.

Anyway, at this point I am rambling and if you have read this far, I thank you for sharing in my joy. Hopefully the fun continues in the weeks to come! Next, polyatomic compounds!

Thank you Smarter Science (and a couple of my colleagues) for the inspirations behind this lesson!


  1. Josh Bhattacharya7/18/2012 2:03 PM

    Fantastic! I use a similar idea but would love to get your ideas to compare with what I do. Cross-fertilisation :). I've ended up making a set out of FIMO clay btw - it's probably 'coz I hadn't played with making crafts :D.

    1. I don't think it really matters how you make the manipulative, as long as it is something for them to try. I am understanding the value of them more and more...just because I student can't wrap their head around what a valence is, or how to figure out the valence, doesn't mean they shouldn't be given the opportunity to make compounds properly (especially at this level).