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Activity Overview


Creating models of chemical reactions is super important to help students understand how things change and how atoms balance. In this activity, students will create a grid that illustrates four chemical reactions. They should be sure to include the reactants, products, and the equation in their finished product. To extend this activity, ask students to add a cell that explains what type of reaction it is (exothermic vs endothermic) and what happens during the process.

The chemical reaction models suggested below get more difficult as students progress through. The final two reactions listed in the activity require students to use the additional skill of balancing the symbol equation with coefficients. If you want to avoid this, choose the following alternative reactions:

  • Reaction between sodium and water to produce sodium hydroxide and hydrogen - Na + H2O → NaOH + H2
  • Reaction of sulfur trioxide and water to form sulfuric acid - SO3 + H2O → H2SO4

Example Chemical Reactions

  • Iron and Sulfur: Exothermic reaction that forms iron sulfide. The word equation for this reaction is iron + sulfur → iron sulfide. The balanced symbol equation is Fe + S → FeS.
  • Hydrogen and Oxygen: Reaction that forms water. The word equation for this reaction is hydrogen + oxygen → water. The balanced symbol equation is 2H2 + O2 → 2H2O
  • Methane and Oxygen: Combustion that forms carbon dioxide and water. The balanced symbol equation is CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O. This reaction requires students to balance the equation.
  • Photosynthesis: Endothermic reaction that produces glucose and oxygen. The word equation for photosynthesis is carbon dioxide + water → glucose + oxygen. The balanced symbol equation is 6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2. This reaction requires students to balance the equation.
Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Common Core Standards
  • [SCI-MS-PS1-1] Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
  • [SCI-MS-PS1-2] Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • [SCI-MS-PS1-5] Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Model various chemical reactions by creating a T-Chart on Storyboard That. Identify the reactants and products in the reactions and create models of the molecules. Remember: atoms are not created or destroyed in a chemical reaction, so the total number of atoms doesn’t change.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the products and reactants of the following:
    • Reaction between Iron and Sulfur
    • Combustion of Hydrogen in Air
    • Combustion of Methane in Air
    • Photosynthesis
  3. Write the names of the reactants and products in the title of cell.
  4. Write the symbols in the description box underneath.
  5. Add coefficients if necessary to balance the symbol equation.
  6. Use shapes to model the arrangement of the different atoms for the reactants and products.
  7. Count the number of each type of atom before and after the reaction to ensure your symbol equation is correctly balanced.
  8. Save and submit your storyboard.


Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Modeling Chemical Reactions
Model different chemical reactions. Clearly identify and include the formula of the reactants and products.
Proficient
25 Points
Emerging
13 Points
Beginning
0 Points
Identification of Products and Reactants
All the products and reactants have been identified.
Most of the products and reactants have been identified.
Some of the products and reactants have been identified.
Balanced Symbol Equations
The symbol equation terms are correct and the equation has been balanced correctly
The symbol equation terms are correct and the equation has not been balanced correctly.
The symbol equation terms are not correct and the equation has not been balanced correctly
Modeling
The models of the different substances correctly and clearly show the arrangement of the atoms and the bonds between them.
The models of the different substances correctly show the arrangement of the atoms and the bonds between them, but they are sometimes difficult to understand.
The models of the different substances do not correctly show the arrangement of the atoms and the bonds between them.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.




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