Reaching Every Student

Meeting the needs of ALL students


Major Species/Entities Kinesthetic Activity

The following sheet was given to students as we worked through the concept of major species/entities in solutions. I used the classroom as a mock beaker and gave 8-10 kids a blue pinny to resemble water. The rest of the students stood at the back of the room (the top of the beaker). I would have them link arms, to resemble the different atoms (or ions) in the compound being discussed. Once they were “poured” into the beaker, they would either:

1. Split apart and float through the solution, if they were a soluble ionic compound, or a strong acid

2. Stay together and float through the solution, if they were  a soluble molecular compound, or a weak acid

3. Stay together and sink to the bottom if they were a slightly soluble – or insoluble – ionic compound, an insoluble molecular compound, or a piece of metal

demonstrating the major species in the beaker.

Bonding Tug of War

After discussing the difference between an ionic, polar covalent and non-polar covalent bond with the students I used a rope, with two ping pong balls attached in the middle (to represent electrons) to play bonding tug of war. The purpose of this activity was to demonstrate to students the nature of each type of bond.

1. If one person completely removed the rope from the others hands, we have an ionic bond because we have had a full transfer of electrons

2. If one person dominates the tug of war (has a stronger pull) but does not remove the rope from the others hands, we have a polar covalent bond because the one atom, with the higher electronegativity, has a stronger pull on the electrons and there is unequal sharing of the electrons

3. If the tug of war is still, then we have a non-polar covalent bond because both atoms are equally sharing the electrons.

Bonding Tug of War


ImageOver two periods the students engaged in activities to familiarize themselves with the 3D shapes of molecules. Students were given model kits, which they could use to build various molecules to see their orientation in 3D. Perhaps more memorable, we participated in VSEPR Yoga! Students were asked to make the various shapes with their bodies. In one period, we practiced making the shapes with the model kits and our bodies. The following class, we played “Mr. B says …” (a spin off of the classic child’s game “Simon says …”). On cue, students would engage in the activity by making the shape that Mr. B said, however, if they made the wrong shape or made a shape when Mr. B did not say, they had to sit down and wait until the next round.

Atomic Theory

In class today we studied the atomic theories proposed by Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford, Bhor and Heisenberg. After watching several YouTube clips, using various analogies and having a great class discussion regarding the differences between the theories, one student voiced his idea that it would be great if we could act this theory out (this way not in my plan at all). I really liked this students idea so we went down the hall to an open space and acted out each persons theory.

  • Dalton’s Billiard Ball Model: Atom is a solid hunk of matter – students packed themselves as close as possible. When we “divided” the atom in half, students stayed together, recognizing that it is a solid hunk.
  • Thomson’s Chocolate Chip Muffin Theory: The atom is composed of a mass of positive charge with negative electrons embedded in it (the muffin being the positive mass and the chocolate chips being the electrons) – the boys acted as the positive mass and the girls embedded themselves within to act as the electrons.
  • Rutherford’s Planetary Model: Electrons orbit the positively charged nucleus as the planets orbit the sun. The girls acted as the positively charged nuclues and the boys orbited around the nucleus just as if they were planets.
  • Bohr’s Shell theory: Electrons orbit the nucleus in shells containing different energy levels. The boys acted as the nuclues and the girls formed various energy levels (2 in the first, followed by 8, etc.). They then moved around the nucleus in their energy level.
  • Heisenberg & Quantum Theory: Electrons occupy a region of space at a particular time, retaining distinct energy levels. The girls acted as the nucleus and the boys created the electron cloud and moved around the positively charged nucleus.


Atomic Musical Chairs

This activity was performed to have students gain an understanding of Bohr’s model of the atom. This activity incorporated visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic learners. For each atom, the class engaged in discussion (auditory), each student was given a piece of paper to fill out during the activity (tactile and visual) and students were engaged in the activity by placing protons/neutrons in the nucleus (basket) or acting as electrons orbiting the nucleus in various energy levels (visual and kinesthetic), modelling Bohr’s theory. This activity helped students make connections to how electrons move in energy levels, but also the idea that an electron can be at any location at any given time (Heisenberg’s theory). To illustrate this concept, students provided me with their favourite school appropriate songs to use during the lesson. While the song was playing students were orbiting around the nucleus in their energy level, when the song stopped students would stop moving. Although we set out chairs where electrons “should be” this showed students that an electron can be in any location at any specific time (when the music stops).




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