Intermolecular Forces Activities

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

Intermolecular forces are an important aspect of your unit on chemical reactions. This lesson contains engaging activities that you can use as you teach your students about the forces that attract and repel molecules from each other.

What Are Intermolecular Forces?

Your students will likely understand that the world is made up of molecules that compose everything in our universe. To help them further understand how these molecules interact with each other, your chemical reactions unit should include intermolecular forces. These are the forces that repel or attract molecules to each other.

As you begin your unit on intermolecular forces, it will be necessary to use activities that engage your students and help them develop a deeper understanding of how molecules interact with each other. The following activities will give your students an opportunity to investigate how intermolecular forces affect a piece of newspaper, analyze intermolecular forces and chemical bonding, and demonstrate their knowledge of the forces at work between different molecules.

Sticking Newspaper

Materials:

  • Newspaper strips
  • Rubber cement
  • Baby powder
  • Scissors

Instructions:

1. Divide your students into pairs and pass out the materials to each pair. The students should coat one side of the newspaper with rubber cement and then lightly apply baby powder to the same side.

2. Your students should fold the newspaper in half so that the rubber cement side is touching. They will notice that the paper does not stick together.

3. Then, holding their newspaper in the air, they will cut a small piece of the newspaper off the bottom. They should hold on to one piece of the paper and let the other piece drop. They will notice that the paper now sticks together.

4. Allow your students to continue cutting the paper and examining what is happening before moving on to the discussion questions.

Discussion Questions:

  • What forces are at work when the paper doesn't stick together?
  • Why does cutting the paper change the forces between the molecules?

Chemical Bonds vs. Intermolecular Forces

Materials:

  • Venn diagram
  • Computers or informational texts

Instructions:

1. Divide your students into pairs and pass out a Venn diagram to each pair.

2. Explain to your students that they are going to use the computers or informational texts to identify the similarities and differences between intermolecular forces and chemical bonding.

3. As students work, circulate and prompt their thinking. You might ask them the following questions:

  • Which one is stronger: intermolecular forces or chemical bonding?
  • Are the unions directed in both?
  • What size is the bond between molecules?
  • Does temperature play a part in both?

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support