Exploring Atoms and Molecules with Alexis Toliver

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Learning Objectives

In Exploring Atoms and Molecules with Alexis Toliver you will learn:

How atoms and elements can be represented in several ways, including ball and stick models and chemical formulas.

Students should also understand the meaning of the word valency.

You will also discover that different representations are useful for different situations.

Next Generation Science Standards:

MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Guiding ideas for Exploring Structures, Models, Molecules:

Chemical formulas provide information about how many atoms of a particular element are in a molecule. Students may discover that a chemical formula does not always provide enough information to be able to build a molecular structure.

Student activities in Exploring Structures, Models, Molecules 

You will be able to create simple structures to represent atoms of a particular element using, for example, colored wool.
Alternatively, you can create two-dimensional representations of molecules using the element blocks available in Minecraft.
For guidance, you will be shown compounds in Minecraft that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and/or nitrogen, and then try and build structures of these molecules.
You can create compounds by adding the appropriate type and number of elements to the grid. The compound you have created will appear in the output box on the right-hand side. The location of the elements on the grid does not affect the result. By using the Compound Creator, you can create over 30 different compounds.


  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking


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