Document Type

Instructional Material

Publication Date

Summer 2015


This AP Chemistry unit is designed to review bonding from first year chemistry and extend the content into AP bonding objectives. After first year chemistry, this unit attempts to place the bonding content within an intriguing context: smells + how humans sense smells. Our olfactory receptors are activated nearly exclusively by medium-sized, polar molecules. This allows the teacher to draw a distinction between covalent molecules and ionic formula units, polar and nonpolar molecules, and size and shape of molecules predicted from Lewis Dot structures and valence-shell electron-pair repulsion (VSEPR) theory. The unit concludes with a thin-layer chromatography (a separation technique based upon polarity and attraction between molecules and the chromatography paper) performance task in which students design a procedure to separate and identify the dyes in M&Ms candies.

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