Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Salt Water

After reading about the fun Miranda's children had working with molecular models, I decided to order an inorganic teacher's (how do inorganic teachers teach, anyway?) set for my children.

One of the first things they did was to offer me a glass of water.

Quite refreshing.

The next glass they offered me was undrinkable.

When I looked closely at the molecules they'd included in the glass, I discovered water:

But they'd also included a generous helping of sodium chloride!

No wonder I couldn't drink that water!

For the most part, they've used the set to model simple chemicals. Malcolm likes to model the more dangerous and explosive chemicals. His sulfuric acid is quite lovely.

On the box, the MolyMod folks see fit to include the statement that this set is NOT A TOY, and is to be used only for educational purposes. I therefore have not included any photos of the spaceships that Remus John made with molecular parts.

Malcolm made up some molecules and asked Morgayn about them. Morgayn explained to him why one of his molecules wouldn't occur in nature. The two of them then talked about the numbers of bonds that different elements like to make, and about the various elements' attitudes towards electrons. Morgayn explained that some elements are greedier for electrons than others, and that other elements are easy-going. She also told him that some elements are really picky about the number of bonds they get.

They talked about various elements and their predilections. They spent a lot of time talking about oxygen, carbon, chlorine, fluorine, sodium, and hydrogen. Earlier this week, Malcolm asked me what sand was made of, and I told him it was silicon dioxide. This came up again when they were talking about carbon and oxygen, and the two of them had a lengthy discussion about the ways in which silicon is similar to carbon (and why).

Morgayn loaned Malcolm her high school level chemistry book so he could look up more compounds to concoct.

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