The Mole in Chemistry: How do you determine the number of atoms or molecules in everyday items?
In this Spreadsheets across the Curriculum activity, students explore the concept of the mole as a measure of quantity. They build spreadsheets that allow them to convert between moles, grams, and atomic mass units for given quantities of everyday items, elements, and simple chemical compounds. At the end of the module students are asked to think about how they would determine the number of atoms in a paper clip. The module introduces the concepts of unit conversion, signficant figures, and scientific notation.
- Create spreadsheets to practice using moles as a way to describe quantities.
- Practice converting between moles, grams, and atomic mass units.
- Practice thinking in terms of proper significant figures and scientific notation.
- Determine the number of atoms in an ordinary paper clip.
- Become more experienced with unit conversions.
- Increase their familiarity with significant figures and scientific notation.
- Increase their problem-solving abilities.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
SSAC2005.QD461.RW1.1_Student (PowerPoint 1.5MB Aug1 07)
The module is a PowerPoint presentation with embedded spreadsheets as illustrations. If the embedded spreadsheets are not visible, save the PowerPoint file to a disk and open it from there.
Slide 6 of the module contains a link to an Excel spreadsheet that can be used by the students as a template for completing their work. The link can be activated by double clicking in the normal view (not in presentation mode).
This PowerPoint file is the student version of the module. An instructor version is available by request. The instructor version includes the completed spreadsheet. Send your request to Len Vacher (firstname.lastname@example.org) by filling out and submitting the Instructor Module Request Form.