From: Anna bURAKOWSKI (ANNA2@rochester.rr.com)
Date: Fri Jan 24 2003 - 20:22:25 EST
I also followed many of your ideas for an element project. But I tied it into a much larger project, National Chemistry Week. I arranged for professors from two of the local colleges to speak to the students about their fields of endeavor and the real-world connections to their work. The students lab work was tied into the theme for the week and the product was something the students could take home and use. The week culminated in a party for the students. At this party, we had two sheet cakes which had the periodic table decorated on top. As the students came for their servings, I took care to cut out an element for each student. Unknown to them, this element was their project assignment. When then returned to their seats, they found the project requirements which included physical and chemical properties the students were to discover.
I had difficulty with the balloons too. It was difficult for the students to comprehend the complexity of orbitals. I "trolled" through many textbooks finding graphics which would help explain the orbitals. I did have some luck explaining to the students that those inner shells are analagous to putting a smaller balloon inside a large balloon. Otherwise, this was a very difficult concept for the students to understand.