How to Make Molecules With Toothpicks & Marshmallows

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Making marshmallow molecules is a great hands-on way to study and learn the structures of various molecules. Creating them is an easy, fun and wonderful project for kids because the final product is edible. Creating the molecules piece by piece is the perfect way to learn their structures visually. Among the basic marshmallow molecules to make are water, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

    Wash your hands before opening a bag of multicolored marshmallows and dividing all the different colors into separate piles. There should be four piles: pink, orange, green and yellow. Assign each of these colors a certain element. For example, the pink marshmallows can represent nitrogen, orange can be oxygen, green can be hydrogen and yellow can be carbon.

    Study a diagram of the molecule you wish to build. Each molecule is made up of different atoms in varying numbers. For example, a water molecule is shown as H20, which means that it has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.

    Take two green marshmallows and one orange marshmallow, which will represent the components of the H2O molecule. Pierce the orange marshmallow with two toothpicks, each of which point upward and away from each other. Attach a green marshmallow to the open ends of both toothpicks. The structure now accurately represents a water molecule. Repeat with any molecule you'd like, sticking to the color code and assembling the molecules according to their diagrams.

    Things You'll Need

    • One bag multicolored marshmallows
    • Package of toothpicks
    • Diagrams of preferred molecules for reference

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