Chemical Reaction Cards

I came in today and found out that every computer in the building is being used for testing for the entire week. That kind of threw off my plans. So, I came up with a quick activity I thought I’d share in case you’re in the same place with your chemistry.

We did an activity a week or so ago in which students placed chemical reactions into five categories based on their similarities. These, of course, were synthesis, decomposition, combustion, single replacement and double replacement. Today, we’re doing something similar with note cards. I’m hoping to see two things:

A) I’d like to see if they remember the indicators for each type of chemical reaction and B) They’ll copy down these representative reactions into their notes for reference as we move on in identifying reaction types.

Color coded cards. Photo is CC-SA by Brian.

I took example reactions and wrote each chemical down on an individual note card. I also threw in a couple of distractions to make sure kids were thinking about ion charges and bonding. I chose to put the balanced coefficient with the chemicals so kids have another clue to whether or not their reaction is correct (if it is right, it should be balanced).

They’re thinking and engaging with the cards, making critical decisions about which to include, and which to throw away. It is also forcing them to work together, listen to input, and make collaborative choices and then adjust based on feedback.

*UPDATE* – Since I’m doing this activity on the fly, I came across a problem I hadn’t anticipated. I noticed students were not putting the proper “punctuation” into their notes (plus signs and reaction arrows). To correct for this, I had them write them in neon marker on the tabletop to help them space the cards out correctly. You could also do this by including plus sign and reaction arrow cards in each set.

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