Chemistry - Explaining Solutions

Chemistry - Explaining Solutions

Explaining Solutions


Name of Project: Explaining Solutions


Project Description

Name of ProjectExplaining Solutions
Subject AreaScience
Targeted StandardsChm.3.2.4; Chm.3.2.6
Driving Question / Problem / ActivatorHow can you use Livescribe technology to explain the processes occurring on a molecular level as a solute dissolves in a solvent?
Project SummaryThis is a culminating activity to be used after completion of a Solutions unit, or later in the curriculum as review or evidence of concept retention. Students will create and label molecular level drawings of aqueous solutions, differentiating between dilute and concentrated solutions, electrolyte and nonelectrolyte solutions, and to illustrate how an ionic solid dissolves.  For each, students will explain in detail what is happening using Livescribe Echo pens.
Estimated Time90-minute block
Materials / Resources/Lesson Plans (including link to slideshow if available)Livescribe Echo Pens, laptop, phone or tablet with Livescribe App, Livescribe paperPreparing the technologyBefore implementing this assignment, charge the Livescribe Echo pens and download the software (link to Echo pen software) onto the device(s) you plan to use.You can adjust the audio recording quality.  Go to the pen’s Main Menu, scroll down to Settings, select Recording Quality.  You can choose high, medium or low.  High quality recordings take up more space in your smartpen memory.To use the Echo Smart pen, remove the cap covering the penpoint and turn the power button on.  Touch the penpoint to the “record” dot at the bottom of the page in the Livescribe notebook, and begin recording.  When you are finished recording audio, tap the “stop” button on the bottom of the page with your pen.To play back your recording, tap your handwritten notes.  Your recording (“pencast”) will automatically save to the Echo Desktop whenever you connect your smartpen to your computer. To share the recording, from the Echo Desktop on your computer, click the Share menu.Loading the ContentThis is a culminating activity.  It is intended to be implemented after students have finished a learning unit on Solutions, so it is assumed that they already know how to calculate Molarity, understand solubility and solubility curve concepts, as well as polarity and basic chemical reactions.  A summary Powerpoint lesson is included to review key concepts but primarily to highlight some important aspects of sketching and labeling molecular level drawings.
  1.  Powerpoint lesson.
  1. Watch and discuss the video clip illustrating the dissolution of ionic and covalent substances.  link to ionic vs covalent in solution
  1. Watch and discuss this video clip (53 seconds long) of an ionic salt dissolving in water.  link to dissociation of NaCl video clip
Directions for Implementing the ActivityStudents should already have completed a learning unit on Solutions.  First, discuss the Powerpoint included in this lesson.  The objective of the presentation is to prepare students to draw particle-level representations of chemical concepts.  Components such as atom, ion, and molecule size, orientation, position, and labeling is discussed.Next, students should outline what they plan to say as they narrate the processes occurring on a molecular level for the following three scenarios:
  • Compare dilute versus concentrated aqueous solutions
  • Compare electrolyte versus non-electrolyte solutions
  • Draw an ionic salt dissolving in water
  • Students should choose specific compounds and use those formulas and concentrations in the labels on their diagram
  • The size, orientation and polarity of the molecules, ions should be included
  • The solute-solvent interactions must be explained in detail
  • All relevant components should be labeled completely
Students should rehearse the narrative so it can be delivered smoothly.Now students should be ready to create, label and record their explanations of all the assigned components.Once the work project is completed, students should self-score themselves and exchange projects with a peer and evaluate each other using the grading rubric.  Peer reviews can be recorded using the smartpen or handwritten.Finally, students make any changes or improvements they wish before submitting the work for a grade.  Final projects should be turned in on the dot paper and also uploaded electronically using the Echo desktop software.
TagsDissolution, solvation, aqueous solution, electrolyte

Project Outline 

AskWhat is occurring on a molecular level in dilute versus concentrated solutions, in electrolyte versus non-electrolyte solutions, and as a solid dissolves in water?
ImagineIf you are given a Livescribe Smartpen and dot paper, can you draw and label molecules in beakers that illustrate the differences between dilute and concentrated solutions, electrolyte and non-electrolyte solutions, and a solid dissolving in water?
PlanOutline the key points you want to make when you record your explanation of the solution processes and decide how many beakers you will draw to illustrate these properties.  Underline key vocabulary terms you should include in your narrative.
CreateUse the Echo pen to sketch beakers and their contents, and record your detailed explanations of what is occurring on a molecular level on the Livescribe dot paper
ImproveListen to your recording and make notes about statements you could develop more fully or explain more clearly. Record your narrative again.
Closure / Student ReflectionsStudents will conduct peer reviews of classmates’ diagrams, and answer the post-activity questions.
Possible Modifications / ExtensionsAdditional solutions concepts could easily be added such as drawing equilibria, neutralization reactions, titrations, solubility, polarity, intermolecular forces, etc.  

Evaluation (Pre/Post)  

Preview Questions


Post-Lesson Questions


Grading Rubric for Particle-level Drawings

Credits or Modified From

Additional Resources / Help for teaching this lesson

For help using the smartpen:  link to support documents


You can print your own dot paper on a regular copy machine: link to print dot paper



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