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Friday, May 3, 2019

Guest Blog: Happy Atoms Bring Exploration to an Elementary Science Classroom - Beth Ellis


Thanks to a Classroom Innovation Grant from Impact on Education, I was able to purchase a classroom set of Happy Atoms that allowed my fifth grade students to independently explore, learn about and practice basic chemistry concepts. Through experimentation and exploration, they built a solid foundation around concepts such as the organization of the periodic table, simple models of the atom, the difference between ionic and covalent bonds and the various shapes of molecules. Here is a short video that my students created to share this app.

When my kit first arrived, the kids dove into creating glucose (C6H12O6) since we had just finished learning about how leaves turn sunlight into this life-giving carbohydrate. Because we have been studying climate change all year, the next most popular molecules were water, carbon dioxide and methane. As we worked our way through the FOSS Mixtures and Solutions lessons, I modeled the chemical reactions for my students and we “balanced the equations” so it was easier to see that matter was not created or destroyed, but sometimes it changed into a different form.