by Sharon Geyer, faculty –
Lewis dot diagrams are a staple of any chemistry course. The diagrams are an easy way to represent a molecule that shows the chemical bonds and the lone electron pairs. I really enjoy teaching this to students because kids “get it.” We can quickly go from zero to expert in just one class period.
This year I decided to kick off the Lewis dots with my new toy, Lewis Electron Dot Models from Flinn Scientific. Each student got a set of cards with element symbols and small chips in several colors. Using these cards and chips, I introduced the kids to the Lewis Dot representation of electrons in a neutral atom, ions, ionic compounds, and covalent compounds. It was a really fun class because the kids were actively engaged in the development of this concept. I loved how each student put his or her own style into the structures with the colored chips. You can see from these pictures how each student created their own Lewis dot style with the kits.
We made an easy transformation from the kits to drawing molecules on white boards. The easy manipulation of the dots led them right into drawing the structures without the aid of the electron chips. The next day we took the white boards and our periodic tables outside into the sunshine to draw Lewis dot diagrams of multiple bond molecules and polyatomic ions.