Using AACT Resources to Teach Chemical Bonding

By Kim Duncan on November 10, 2017

As chemistry teachers around the country plan activities for their students, AACT will highlight resources from our high school library that help to reinforce topics in different units throughout the school year.

During the first quarter of the school year we focused on resources related to chemistry basics and measurements, atomic structure, and the Periodic Table. As we start the second marking period we will move on to lessons, activities, labs, projects, videos, simulations, and animations that can be used to support a unit plan for chemical bonding. This includes the topics of bonding basics, covalent, ionic and metallic bonding and properties, Lewis Structures, molecular geometry, polarity and intermolecular forces.

Bonding Basics

Help students visualize how different chemical bonds form by using the Bonding Animation to introduce the concept of bonding. Examples of ionic, covalent, and polar covalent bonds are animated, and students are given a set of compounds to predict the bonding types.

You might also want to use the Ionic & Covalent Bonding Simulation from the September 2016 issue of Chemistry Solutions. This simulation allows students to investigate ionic and covalent bonding. Students interact with different combinations of atoms and are tasked with determining the type of bond and the number of atoms needed to form each. The simulation visually differentiates between the transferring of electrons when forming an ionic compound and the sharing of electrons when forming a covalent compound. Students also become familiar with the molecular formula and geometric shape, as well as the naming system for each type of bond. This simulation is unlocked and can be used by your students. It also includes a teacher guide and student activity sheet.

Covalent, Ionic & Metallic Bonding and Properties

In the You Light Up My Life! lab, students participate in a guided inquiry investigation which allows them to test different physical properties of given samples. This lab can be used to introduce ionic, covalent and metallic bonds and their properties. It will also help students make connections and differentiate between the types of bonds and have a better understanding of the nomenclature of ionic and covalent compounds.

Students can construct ionic compounds by balancing the charges on cations and ions in the Constructing Ionic Compounds activity. This lesson shows students how to form stable ionic compounds, explain why different number of cations and ions are needed to form those compounds, and use superscripts and subscripts in chemical formulas.

The Metallic Bonding & Magnetics demonstration can be used to show your students how electrons flow through a metal using tubes made of different metals. This demo will allow your students to visualize the “free-moving electrons” in metallic bonding, understand magnetic fields, and identify that different metals have different properties because of their electron structure.

The Isn’t it Ionic activity uses clues and questions to help students learn how to form ionic and covalent compounds. By the end of this lesson, students should be able to predict ionic charges, ionic bonds, and covalent bonds. This activity can also be used to help students solve stoichiometric problems for limiting and excess reactant calculations.

Use the Ionic vs. Covalent Compounds lab to allow your students to compare two visually similar substances, salt and sugar. After melting a sample of each substance and analyzing their chemical composition, students draw conclusions regarding the properties of ionic and covalent compounds.

Lewis Structures, Molecular Geometry (VSEPR) and Polarity

The Molecular Compound lesson teaches students how to name molecular compounds and create Lewis Dot Structures using a single dice and element cards. This resource includes a set of element cards for your students to use as they work through the activity.

Introduce molecular geometry with the VSEPR Modeling activity, which has students construct physical models of molecules and then derive the arrangement of the atoms. This guided inquiry activity allows them to conceptualize the impact of one electron pair domain acting upon another. They will also understand how those interactions result in the molecular geometries predicted by VSEPR theory. Find out more about this VSEPR Modeling Activity in the September 2017 issue of Chemistry Solutions.

Students can investigate the VSEPR geometry of covalent compounds with the Shapes of Molecules lab. They then draw Lewis structures, use molecular models, and determine the geometry of covalent compounds. The following molecular shapes are covered in this lab: tetrahedral, trigonal pyramidal, trigonal planar, bent, and linear. Note, this activity includes a lot of repetition so that students gain as much practice as needed to master this concept.

In the Making Connections Between Electronegativity, Molecular Shape, and Polarity activity students find the electronegativity values of a variety of elements, draw the Lewis structures of molecules made with those elements, and identify the molecular shape of each molecule. Students then determine if the molecules are polar or nonpolar based on the electronegativity values of the atoms and the shape. Finally, students use to find information about atoms and molecules and connect what they find to observable properties.

The Polarity lesson plan helps students learn some valuable tips for determining if a molecule is polar or nonpolar based on its Lewis Structure, VSEPR structure, and polarity. The student activity includes a “Decision Tree” to help students work through the steps of determining if a substance is polar.


Intermolecular Forces (IMFs)

Students investigate intermolecular attractive forces in The Great Race: A Study of van der Waals Forces lesson plan by constructing molecules and determining the forces of attraction between them—London dispersion, dipole-dipole, and hydrogen bonding. Given a set of structural formulas, they then rank the molecules in order of increasing strength of van der Waals forces.

Use the Intermolecular Forces simulation designed by the Next-Generation Molecular Workbench to have your students investigate different types of intermolecular forces—London dispersion and dipole-dipole. In the analysis that follows the activity, they relate IMFs, including hydrogen bonding, to physical properties such as boiling point and solubility.

Wrap up your study of IMFs with the Intermolecular Forces Review lesson that helps your students review the five types of interactions—London dispersion, dipole-induced dipoles, dipole forces, hydrogen bonding, and ionic bonding. The lesson includes a PowerPoint presentation and a student note sheet to use during the review.

We hope that these activities help you reinforce several of the topics covered in a unit about chemical bonding. Most of these lessons were made possible by great teachers sharing their own resources. We need your help to keep the collection growing.

Do you have a great demonstration, activity, or lesson about any topics relating to chemical bonding that you would like to share with the community? Please send it along for consideration.