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Candy Experiment - Valence Electrons

Lab Experiment: Interactive Valence Shell Electrons
1. You will need a bag of colored candies such as "Skittles" or "M&M" You should have at least 80 pieces of this candy. You will also need eighteen index cards. Nine sheets of notebook paper torn in half will work as well as index cards.
2. Separate the candies by color. Place the candies on a paper towel to keep them clean.
3. Although there is no physical difference in electrons, try and use the same color for valence shell electrons in the same family.
4. Look at the periodic table in where the element with atomic number 1 is located.
5. Write the chemical symbol for element number 1 on an index card. Draw a circle around the symbol and number to represent the first energy level. Place the appropriate number and color of candies to represent ONLY THE VALENCE SHELL ELECTRONS.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for element with atomic number 2 and show only the valence shell electrons.
7. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for all the elements up to atomic number 18.
8. Arrange your 18 atoms the way they are in the periodic table. Thus the first column should contain the elements hydrogen, lithium, and sodium.

Observations and Skills Development

A. What is the pattern of valences from left to right across a period?
B. What is the pattern of valences from the top of one column to the bottom of the same column?
C. Each column of the periodic table is called a family. Elements in the same family have similar properties. Are there any similarities in the electronic configuration within a family (column)?
D. Which column of elements would you expect to be the most reactive? Explain.

Solution Preview

A. What is the pattern of valences from left to right across a period?
We see that the number of electrons in the outermost shell increases by 1 when gong from Left to Right across in a period. In the first period, the element with atomic no. 1 (H) has 1 electron, and the element with atomic no. 2 (He) has 2 electrons. In the second period, Li has 1, Be has 2, B has 3, C has 4, N has 5, O has 6, F has 7, and Ne has 8 electrons in the valence shell. A similar pattern is observed in the third period as well. ...

Solution Summary

An experiment that uses candy to represent electrons. This experiment uses this analogy to learn about valence electrons. The solution provides responses to the observations and skill development questions.

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