Chemistry Now, week 4: chemical bonds

Spice jarsClose-up of glueWhat makes nutmeg and cloves smell like Christmas, while polyurethane-based adhesive smells like, well, glue?

As we enter week four of the weekly, online, video series “Chemistry Now,” we find that placement of a double bond in the hydrocarbon side chain makes all the difference in how eugenol, found in cloves,  and isoeugenol, found in nutmeg, taste and smell.

Subtle differences in bonds can also make or break efforts to create a stronger, more useful adhesive, as well as give it that pungent, acrid smell.

Finally, subtle changes in how teachers introduce scientific concepts to their students can bind those ideas in richer, more complex ways, leading to greater understanding. As has become our habit, please view the video, try the lessons, and let us know what you think.

Through the Chemistry Now series, NSTA and NBC Learn have teamed up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create lessons related to common, physical objects in our world and the changes they undergo every day. The series also looks at the lives and work of scientists on the frontiers of 21st century chemistry.

Spices: Maureen Shaughnessy

Close-up of glue: Sam Catch


Video: “The Chemical Bond Between Cloves and Nutmeg” focuses on the variety, strengths — and placement — of chemical bonds in the structures of molecules. In a “bonding” story of another kind, NBC Learn profiles Purdue materials chemist Jon Wilker, who’s making synthetic adhesives based on the glues mussels produce underwater.

Middle school lesson: To give students a better understanding of molecular interactions through experimentation with adhesives. In this experiment, students will test three different types of tapes to see how well they hold squares made of three different materials (cardboard, plastic, magazine covers) together. This lesson encourages inquiry, understanding of the scientific process, and study of materials.

High school lesson: To demonstrate van der Waals (intermolecular) forces, viscosity, adhesion, and cohesion and their relationship to adhesives by having students conduct an experiment to test the effectiveness of three different types of glue on three different materials at room temperature and at refrigerator temperature.

You can use the following form to e-mail us edited versions of the lesson plans:

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2 Responses to Chemistry Now, week 4: chemical bonds

  1. Luke Travelpiece says:

    This is a great video that can be used at so many different points during the process of learning about chemical bonds. This video not only explains what a chemical bond is and how it works, but also challenges the more advanced learner to think about the slight variations between similar bonds that can produce different substances. I think that the video could be used as an introduction to chemical bonds to explain the importance they have on the world as well.
    Besides the tape experiment, are there any other activities that can help to drive this knowledge home?

  2. Cody Stohler says:

    Completing ever again exercise routines related to every day underside is actually unbelievably good and in addition statements large remedy within the easy and even long term.

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