As we continue through our unit on energy, matter, and organization, we will deploy our new molecular modeling kits. The kits, provided courtesy of our Donors Choose grant, will enable students to gain experience modeling molecules in three dimensions. In a previous lesson, students modeled cellular respiration using two-dimensional paper molecules of glucose and oxygen (which they converted to carbon dioxide and water using scissors and tape). We will be using our molecular modeling kits to model the process of photosynthesis, with various learning opportunities available to help explain the baggie garden results. Time permitting, we will also use the kits to model how glucose models can link together to form more complicated molecules like starch and cellulose. Students will have opportunities to model amino acids and nucleic acids as in future units.
Want to learn more about the exciting field of chemistry? Visit Theodore Gray’s Periodic Table website (look familiar?) to learn about all of the known elements. Then check out “Hunting the Elements” and skip ahead to 31:58 where the host introduces the concept of proton number as the definition of what makes elements unique. For the next 15 minutes or so, the host meets up with Theodore Gray – for extra credit, write up a summary of what you learn from this segment!