On October 23rd, it is Mole Day - A day that is dedicated to celebrating Avogadro's number! As a chemistry teacher, I love the idea of participating in all the festivities, but this day always falls several units before we are ready to learn about stoichiometry. However, I am not one to pass on an excuse to make my students excited about chemistry! Here is a list of several activities that are great for you to do with your students as an introduction to the mole.
If "the mole" is a concept that your students have not seen before, the American Chemical Society provides a straightforward introduction here. Students can read the short article prior to October 23rd.
1. Serve up some quacaMOLE with chips.
My favorite guacamole ratio is two avocados (mushed up with a fork or potato masher) to half a lime, one medium tomato, and a teaspoon of garlic salt!
2. Make Amedeo Avogadro masks as you introduce the man behind the concept.
3. You can make MOLasses cookies. Alternatively, you can have your students make them using this recipe for MOLasses cookies. It requires students to convert moles to grams, particles to grams, and Kelvin to Fahrenheit. Students will need to use a scale to measure ingredients in grams.
4. Students are challenged to make a mole sculpture using aluminum foil.
I like to have the students in my other classes vote on the winner. The winning sculpture is announced the following day. If you want to take this activity a step further, you can have your students weigh their creation and report the weight in number of moles or aluminum particles. According to the National Mole Day Foundation, the theme for 2019 is "DispicaMOLE Me." Students who are able to incorporate the theme could earn extra points!
5. Have the students measure one mole of water. At the end of the class period, give a toast and drink it up! You can find a mole "pledge" and jokes from ThoughtCo.
6. To give your students an idea of how small an atom is and why we need such a huge number of atoms (6.022 x 10^23) when we are using them in a laboratory setting, play a clip from NOVA's Hunting the Elements. The relevant clip starts around minute 26 through minute 32.
*Side note, this video is well made, interesting, and very relevant for a high school chemistry classroom. I use it as an emergency lesson plan with an accompanying worksheet.
7. For your more advanced classes, have your students calculate one (or several) of the challenges found here. Basic googling is required so students should have access to the internet.
The American Chemical Society has some awesome ideas you can incorporate into your celebration as well! What are some of your favorite Mole Day celebration ideas?