Intermolecular Forces Activities for Elementary School

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

If your class is studying about chemical reactions and bonding, then learning about intermolecular forces is important. Use these activities to help younger students learn about basic intermolecular forces.

Connections You Can't See

Everything in our world is made of different atoms and molecules. Even though students can't see it, molecules are always interacting. When younger students learn about the interactions between molecules, they can understand why certain events happen, such as objects floating, sugar dissolving in iced tea, or oil and water never mixing.

Let's look at some activities to help students understand intermolecular forces. It is suggested that students complete Introduction to Molecules and Ions before completing the other activities. This gives students a basic understanding of molecules and ions to use as background for the other activities.

Introduction to Molecules and Ions

Use these hands-on activities to help students to understand the basic types of molecules and ions.

Materials

  • Different colored clay
  • Bar magnets
  • Blocks of wood
  • Pieces of Velcro

Teacher Directions

Molecules

  1. Explain to students that ''molecules'' are created when different atoms combine, such as hydrogen and oxygen combining to form water.
  2. Provide each student with two different colored balls of clay. Have them loosely combine them to make one ball. The ball should look like a swirl of the two colors.
  3. Tell students that each ball of color represents a different atom, like hydrogen or oxygen. When the clay is combined, it makes a molecule. In a molecule, each atom is still there even though something new has been made, just like the two colors are still there even though a new ball was made.

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