Chemical Reactions
  • Students use both a wet lab and LEGO bricks to understand how chemicals react
    Students use both a wet lab and LEGO bricks to understand how chemicals react

ABOUT THE CHEMICAL REACTIONS LESSON

This lesson is appropriate for children ages 11 and up. Students are introduced to atoms, molecules, compounds, and mixtures, using LEGO® bricks as atoms.

In an engaging hands-on wet lab, students experience a chemical reaction and then model the same reaction with LEGO bricks. This lesson is also offered as a 3-hour academic field trip LEGO Chemistry at the Edgerton Center. 


TEACHING THE CHEMICAL REACTIONS LESSON

Co-Teaching Video from BLOSSOMS:

This interactive video can be used to co-teach the lesson with Dr. Kathleen Vandiver (inventor of this lesson). Alternatively, teachers can watch the entirety of the lesson in advance. BLOSSOMS (Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math Studies) is a collaborative initiative seeking to begin to develop a large, free repository of video modules for high school math and science classes in multiple languages.

 

Teacher Guides and Resources:

This teacher’s guide outlines the lessons as multiple 45-minute class sessions for both the wet lab and LEGO activity. Alternatively, the guide contains a workshop (2.5 hour) version.

 

MIT Edgerton Molecule videos on our YouTube channel:

This video was designed as a preview for instructors before teaching the wet lab. It shows all the experiments in the wet lab and the expected results. If necessary, it might be used to replace the wet lab activity.


MOLECULE SET MATERIALS

You can make your own Molecule Sets by visiting our webpage: Information for Edgerton Center Molecule Sets. We are no longer able to sell Molecule Sets, unfortunately.

The following LEGO bricks are the minimum required (per kit/2 students) for the Chemical Reactions Lesson:

  • 6 red 2x4
  • 2 pink 2x4
  • 2 light green 2x4
  • 2 black 2x4
  • 1 green 2x4
  • 4 white 1x2

 

NOTE: "2x4" and "1x2" refer to the number of bumps on top of the LEGO bricks.

Chemical Reactions Mats (per kit/2 students):


CURRICULUM STANDARDS

Massachusetts State Frameworks for grades 6-8, Physical Sciences Strand: Elements, Compounds & Mixtures:

5. Recognize that there are more than 100 elements that combine in a multitude of ways to produce compounds that make up all of the living and nonliving things that we encounter.

6. Differentiate between an atom (the smallest unit of an element that maintains the characteristics of that element) and a molecule (the smallest unit of a compound that maintains the characteristics of that compound).

7. Give basic examples of elements and compounds.

8. Differentiate between mixtures and pure substances.

10. Differentiate between physical changes and chemical changes.

 

Next Generation Science Standards:


MS-PS1.B.1

Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules, and these new substances have different properties from those of the reactants.

LEGO®, the LEGO logo, and the brick and knob configurations are trademarks of the LEGO group, used here with permission. ©MIT. All rights reserved.