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ERIC Number: EJ946455
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Understanding Chemical Reaction Kinetics and Equilibrium with Interlocking Building Blocks
Cloonan, Carrie A.; Nichol, Carolyn A.; Hutchinson, John S.
Journal of Chemical Education, v88 n10 p1400-1403 Oct 2011
Chemical reaction kinetics and equilibrium are essential core concepts of chemistry but are challenging topics for many students, both at the high school and undergraduate university level. Visualization at the molecular level is valuable to aid understanding of reaction kinetics and equilibrium. This activity provides a discovery-based method to help students visualize a simple reaction at the molecular level using small, plastic brick interlocking building blocks to represent atoms and molecules. By performing and observing model synthesis, decomposition, and competing reactions, the students gain a deeper understanding of bimolecular and unimolecular kinetics, as well as the dynamic state of equilibrium. This activity allows students to dispel some of the common misconceptions about equilibrium and chemical reactions and encourages discussion to facilitate understanding. This flexible activity using building blocks is an appropriate activity for both high school and undergraduate general chemistry students and can be performed in a classroom or laboratory.
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; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A