At Brandeis, when we welcome people onto campus or into our virtual classrooms, we always say “Make it Matter.” Continuing with this idea, 8th grade scientists began their year with a chemistry unit, learning about what makes up matter. The scientists began their unit discovering subatomic particles and their characteristics in order to understand how molecules, compounds, and crystals form through bonding. "This allows them to better understand our Earth and surroundings," said teacher Sarah Freilich.
Their investigation into bonding began with the breaking of the covalent bond in water (electrolysis) and then students delved deeper into how valence electrons make up the bonds in matter. Students are now creating a superhero or supervillain based on a specific element, and the unit will then finish with investigations of chemical reactions. This chemistry unit allows the scientists to build many important skills, including developing and using models to understand how something works, and analyzing and interpreting data, while also asking them to think using the lenses of patterns and cause and effect.