Speed Dating: Chemistry Style

Others have posted about various “speed dating” review games, but I just wanted to share one I did recently in Chemistry which went better than I could have expected!

We’ve been working on Chemical equations, and I want them to (1) write the formulas from the Chemical names, (2) predict the products, (3) predict whether the reaction would take place, and (4) balance the equation. For many of my students, that process is overwhelming because there is a lot more to do on each of those steps, depending on the reaction.

We had a block period this day (1 hr 30 min class), so we started with the students making their own chemical equations with their lab partner and doing all 4 steps above to them. This took about 30-50 minutes depending on the class, especially as I wanted to make sure that (a) they got all the steps correct and (b) they understood how to get the right answer for their equation.

After all groups had equations ready, I had them go to the lab (so they were standing up) and pair up with another lab group. There were whiteboards at the lab tables and I had them divide the boards in half. They wrote their equation along the top of their half of the board, and then flipped the board around so that they were working on each other’s equations. See the pictures below.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3


What’s great about this setup is that the students immediately become tutors of “their” equations. I give them a set amount of time to work, and when the time runs out, even if they’re not done, they’ve got some work and the people across from them can check their work right away.  If they get stuck, they have immediate help. Students rotate so that they are working on a different equation, but “their” equation is still across from them and they’re still available to help.

We were only able to work on this for a relatively short while (about 40-50 minutes depending on the class) because it took students so long to come up with their own equation, but it was essential for them to come to the table with the right equation and it gave them a confidence booster to help others on “their” equation. They also got faster each time they were doing different equations, which was another goal of this activity.

It also gave them ownership over their work to have an equation that they created and that they know the in’s and out’s of. They actually surprised me with how into this activity they were. It was probably partly that they were working on whiteboards (where mistakes are okay), and partly a combination of the things I mentioned above.

I could have handed out worksheets[1], but this was so much more fun and exciting for them.


[1] Not all worksheets are created equal. Some would be highly engaging, but the ones I had in mind were boring as anything.



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