Building Molecules and Investigating Chemical Reactions

Building Molecules and investigating chemical reactions is an exciting lab-based course where students learn about molecules using a hands-on approach. This class spends about one-third of its time in the laboratory applying newly acquired knowledge and understanding of the molecular world while investigating how molecules change during chemical reactions.

This course will investigate fundamental concepts of chemistry, physics and even some biology, so that students will be able to answer questions that include:

  1. What are irreversible and reversible reactions, and how can I explain them at a molecular level?
  2. Where did the energy come from in the chemical reaction I just conducted and where did it go? 
  3. What are atoms and bonds? Why do scientists use models to understand molecules?
  4. How do I design efficient and effective experiments for learning? 

Students will learn how to conduct experiments, including developing hypotheses, controlling for variables, making observations, collecting evidence, and writing and evaluating conclusions from evidence. They will become confident about lab safety and protocol in preparation for middle school, too.

This is a wonderful course for young people who are eager to explore chemistry, learn about the "why" behind chemical reactions, love LEGO and are curious about the invisible, molecular world.

Site visits and visiting specialists! The Ti2 team engages area research institutions and industries to help students understand how people are investigating the science behind and developing innovative solutions to topics covered in this course. Learning opportunities may include specialists from or field trips to one or more of the following over the course of the academic year: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, lab tours at MIT, Harvard, Tufts, or Brandeis, as well as area museums or scientific archives.

Learning entry points may include the use of storytelling, fiction and nonfiction literature and art.