Sheila Ryan (Grand Valley State University, USA)
Chemistry students have difficulty visualizing how and why ionic compounds dissociate in water, particularly compounds that include polyatomic ions. Therefore they struggle with correctly writing balanced equations or drawing particulate pictures illustrating dissolving processes. Sticky Ions, created as part of the Target Inquiry Program at Grand Valley State University, is designed to help students visualize the interactions between monatomic and polyatomic ions and between the ions and water molecules as well as make connections between visual representations (models) and symbolic representations (chemical formulas). Students use models of water molecules and ions made from magnets to explore these interactions and to see what individual particles form when ionic compounds dissociate. The students sketch each dissociation and represent it with a balanced chemical equation for the process. Student and teacher resources, an example of the models, sample student data and teacher reflections on facilitation, and student pre-post assessment data will be presented.