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ERIC Number: EJ1032422
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jun
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
"Sticky Ions": A Student-Centered Activity Using Magnetic Models to Explore the Dissolving of Ionic Compounds
Ryan, Sheila; Herrington, Deborah G.
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n6 p860-863 Jun 2014
Understanding what happens at the particulate level when ionic compounds dissolve in water is difficult for many students, yet this understanding is critical in explaining many macroscopic observations. This article describes a student-centered activity designed to help strengthen students' conceptual understanding of this process at the particulate level and translate this understanding to the symbolic level. In this activity, students use magnetic models to explore how mono- and polyatomic ions interact with water molecules and with each other. Manipulating the models addresses the common students' misconceptions (1) that ionic compounds remain as ion pairs and (2) that polyatomic ions dissociate into individual monatomic ions. These models also help students see how water molecules orient around the individual ions. Writing dissociation reaction equations for the modeled dissolving processes helps students better understand the relationship between subscripts and coefficients in writing ionic equations. Post-test and final exam scores on questions related to the particulate and symbolic representations of the dissolving of ionic compounds show improved and retained understanding of this concept.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A