Learning Activity: Marshmallow Molecules

The inspiration for this activity came from Maryanne over at Mama Smiles; I thought it was a great way for young children to learn about molecules. We built our original molecules a couple of months ago–the kids were delighted to discover marshmallows in our Family Learning Cupboard, together with toothpicks and books about atoms and molecules. Our masterpiece that day was a glucose molecule, which sat proudly on the counter until Dad came home to admire it. Somehow or other it disappeared after that…

Yesterday, I noticed Ladybug dragging a chair (bigger than herself) into the “blue room”–where I keep many of our homeschooling supplies. The look on her face when she saw me said she didn’t want me to know what she was doing. That look always intrigues me, so I waited to see what she would bring out. I’d forgotten about the marshmallows, stored away in the closet in a drawer marked “Chemistry”–but she obviously hadn’t. The rest of us were sitting at the table having a snack when she came out with a beaker full of little colored marshmallows (the marshmallows had been stored in ziploc bags, but I guess the beaker was more appealing to her).

Maybe this is a fault in my parenting (that storage closet is supposed to be strictly off limits without permission)–but I decided it was a great time for another chemistry lesson! We pulled out the toothpicks and an encyclopedia (for molecule ideas) and went to work.

Honeybee with an ammonia molecule NH3

And her magnum opus, a benzene molecule C6H6

Jumping Spider eating a chlorine atomMolecular Artwork by Honeybee: a kite made from sodium chloride, ammonia, and water (NaCl, NH3 and H2 O)

Sad to say, all of our atoms were gone by the end of the day–I guess there won’t be any more molecular constructions in the near future.

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3 Responses to Learning Activity: Marshmallow Molecules

  1. Learning can be yummy!! đŸ™‚

  2. maryanne says:

    Honeybee looks so pleased with her creation! I like her molecular artwork, too!

    And how appropriate that your first ever marshmallow molecule was glucose =)

  3. {leah} says:

    I am here from homeschool sisters yahoo group. What a fun idea. We are needing to a lesson{s} in chemistry before my 7 year old has a fit. He is ready and willing I just need some fun ideas so I don’t loose him. The marshmallows are so clever!

    Thank you for sharing.

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