In this activity, students will use ion dice to form a number of different ionic compounds. Based on the resulting ionic compound, they will use a solubility chart to determine if it is soluble or insoluble. This game will allow students to become more familiar with ionic compounds and solubility rules.
This activity will help prepare your students to meet the performance expectations in the following standards:
- HS-PS1-2: Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
- Scientific and Engineering Practices:
- Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- Determine the solubility of ionic compounds using the solubility rules.
- Construct and revise an explanation of how to determine solubility of ionic compounds within precipitation reactions.
This activity supports students’ understanding of:
- Solubility Rules
- Ionic Compounds
- Precipitation Reactions
Teacher Preparation: 20 minutes
Lesson: 45 minutes
- Anion and Cation Dice (or virtual option)
- Student handout
- Solubility chart
- There are no safety precautions necessary for this activity.
- This activity is adaptable to hybrid learning. Virtual dice are available for students who are learning remotely.
- This activity is used to introduce the concept of solubility and solubility rules. To reinforce knowledge of solubility rules, this game can be played without the provided solubility table.
- To begin, I review the concept of solubility with students. Below is an overview of content/ideas that can be reviewed:
- During WWII in Denmark, the Nazis were confiscating people’s gold. Niels Bohr had two colleagues who did not want to surrender their Nobel Prizes, so he used his knowledge of solubility to dissolve these gold Nobel Prizes in aqua regia—hydrochloric acid (HCl) and nitric acid (HNO3). No one ever caught him! When the war ended, Bohr was able to “precipitate out” and recast the Nobel Prizes, forming a precipitate of solid gold again. This story is highlighted around the 5-minute mark of the AACT Niels Bohr video.
- Demonstrate with a drawing and distinguish between the concepts of solute, solvent, and solution. Teachers could use a salt-water solution as an example.
- Discuss that some ionic compounds are soluble, while others are not, meaning a precipitate will form.
- Using the Solubility chart allows us to predict which ionic compounds will be soluble and which will be insoluble (precipitates) following a chemical reaction.
- It’s helpful to use an example or two to guide students through using the solubility chart.
- Next, students can begin the game. I do not pass out the dice or give students the materials to assemble the dice until after we have reviewed the directions.
- Game Rules:
- In small groups of 2-3 students, you are going to take turns rolling the ion dice to make ionic compounds.
- One die has just cations on it and the other die has just anions on it.
- In-person: Students should use the paper dice (need to be constructed in advance by cutting, folding and taping). If teachers need to do the game virtually, or need a virtual dice option instead of the physical dice the links below can be used:
- Virtual: You are given two website links to digital dice that I made, one link for each die.
- Cation virtual dice
- Anion virtual dice
- When your group has rolled one cation and one anion, together with your group, check the solubility chart to determine if your compound is soluble or if it forms a precipitate.
- Differentiation: Flexible grouping can be used to meaningfully group students homogeneously or heterogeneously depending on their learning needs. For higher-level students, you can remove the solubility table entirely and have students play this game after learning the solubility rules to reinforce their knowledge.
- An answer key is provided for teacher reference.
For the Student
You are working together in a small group of 2-3 students. Please allow each group member a turn to try each step and talk through the steps. Use the sentence starters and examples below to help you talk about the game.
- Roll the cation dice and the anion dice.
- Record the cation and the anion in the table below.
- Make an ionic compound from the ions that are rolled.
- Use the rules in the Solubility Chart to determine if the ionic compound formed is soluble or if it forms a precipitate. Record the outcome in the table.
- Repeat this process for 10-12 ionic compounds.
How do we know which ionic compounds will be soluble and which ionic compounds will be insoluble (precipitates) following a chemical reaction?