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Summer SAVY Session 2, Day 1 – Common and Practical Chemistry (Pao)

Posted by on Monday, June 19, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 1: I really enjoyed meeting your kids today! Throughout the day, students learned about molecules, polarity, and solutions as they developed their skill of generating evidence-based explanations. First, we practiced calculating percent solution and applied this to everyday processes, like making lemonade. Questions that came up during the lemonade lab included, “Why can water dissolve lemonade powder? Could any liquid work?” In order to answer students’ questions about what substances could be used to dissolve other substances, we talked about the structure of atoms and molecules, which determines polarity. There are two types of molecules called polar and nonpolar molecules. Molecules with similar polarity mix together, but a polar substance typically does not dissolve a nonpolar substance. Students explored this concept by exploring the interactions between milk (mostly polar, with some nonpolar molecules), detergent (both polar and nonpolar characteristics), and food coloring (polar).  

Some key takeaways today include: 

  • Percent solution is calculated to determine concentrations, which can also be observed qualitatively using our senses. 
  • A molecule is polar if it dissolves in water. Water and other polar molecules have uneven distributions of electrons around the molecule. Polar molecules tend to stick with other polar molecules while separating from nonpolar molecules.   
  • Our knowledge of concentrations and polarity help us explain real-world processes, such as mixing salad dressing or using detergent to wash away food coloring. 

If you would like to ask your child some dinner table questions, you could ask: 

  • Why do you think lemonade stopped dissolving in water after a certain amount was added?  
  • What makes a molecule polar or nonpolar?  
  • How does polarity show in your activities every day? 
  • Using what you learned about polarity, how would you clean up an oil spill, and why?  
  • What are some problems that you ran into during the labs? How did that affect your data, and what can you improve on next time?  

I am looking forward to day 2 of SAVY, where students will learn about acid-base chemistry.  

Have a Wonderful Evening, 

Ms. Pao