Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mole Day at Woodstock Academy

We had a grand time celebrating mole day in Chemistry Honors this fall. I am absolutely sure no one enjoyed the day more than I did. This was the first time I've actually taught the mole concept in time for mole day in many years. With the mole concept under our belts, there was no way I was going to miss another mole day celebration this year.

Mole day part one: the target mole day lab (thank you Flinn for the great idea, Chem Fax Publication 91660)

Mole Day Craft showing mole equivalencies
My students were challenged to use the mole concept to predict the final mass of a product from a chemical reaction. They started with a piece of zinc. With the help of 6M hydrochloric acid, they transformed their zinc into zinc chloride. This was the first time they have seen this reaction, but certainly not the last! They will use it again for a target gas law lab later in the term. This exothermic reaction produces a vigorous stream of hydrogen bubbles (we did not ignite the hydrogen this time...) that lets you know when the reaction is done. My students enjoyed watching the reaction and observing the heat produced. After the bubbling stopped, they placed their reaction mixtures on a hot plate to boil off the water, any excess acid, and leave behind only the zinc chloride. While this is all happening, they were busy determining the final mass of the beaker and the zinc chloride. The big moment came when they presented their beaker to me for the official weigh-in. If their prediction was within 0.20g of their final mass they got a prize from the coveted prize beaker. Many prizes were won that day.

Mole day part two: mole day craft

Student wearing her sunglasses prize while making a mole day craft.
After that, my students made a mole day craft to visually display all the mole equivalencies. I was inspired by a video a friend posted on Facebook of a similar craft project that featured a mouse as the cut away and random colors in the background. My mind went immediately to the mole concept and we now have a fun way to remember the mole road map.

Mole day finale: Flying moles (another great idea from Flinn, Chem Fax Publication 91749)

The finale for mole day was the Flying Moles demonstration. Once again, thanks to Flinn for sending out great ideas for mole day. This demonstration helped us end mole day with a bang!  In the jar I poured a small amount of water and then added few pellets of calcium carbide. The cute stuffed moles were attached to rubber stoppers that fit snuggly in the plastic jars. The chemical reaction produces acetylene gas, which we can ignited through the hole in the side of the jar. The moles took to the air with a dramatic bang and flash.
This little pink pig took flight today in honor of breast cancer awareness day.
The moles weren't the only critters who took a turn flying on mole day. In honor of Woodstock Academy's all school pink-out for breast cancer awareness day, we also showed the kids that pigs really do fly in chemistry class.

It was a really fun day of moles and chemical reactions, all in honor of our special chemistry unit. The Mole!
My partner in pink and mole day enthusiast.

Mole Day part three: extra credit mole creations

In the spirit of mole day, I decided to give my students the opportunity to earn a small bonus on their test by making a mole. I provided the mole pattern that I used, but I encouraged them to use their own ideas and designs. Several students produced fun and creative moles to add to my collection.

A fun concert poster loaded with mole puns.

Student mole day poster

Look closely at this poster for 6.02
Mole day creations
Three looks at the mole day craft project showing all the mole equivalencies.

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