On a cold and windy morning last Monday, April 4, 2011, Jesuit sophomores arrived on campus with scaled-up models of molecules, ranging from testosterone to trinitrotoluene.
Students scurried through the back doors of the Terry Center, trying to hold together their constructions made of Styrofoam balls and wooden rods. Although the untimely gusts of wind may have shattered some students’ molecule projects and sent sophomore Trent Mars’ molecule project into the middle of Inwood Road, by the time the first period bell had rung Monday, nearly all of the chemistry students had delivered their informative posters and corresponding molecular models to the Terry Center amidst scattered Styrofoam balls labeled Hydrogen and Oxygen.
This year’s sophomore class has been working tirelessly on the famous molecule project, a tradition of chemistry students at Jesuit, since the beginning of the school year. Nearly midway through first semester, students were asked to pick from a list of molecules put together by the chemistry teachers Mr. Matt Jones, Mr. John Nugent, and Mr. Benjamin Kirby. Once each student picked his own molecule, they began doing background research on their molecule’s characteristics, including molar mass, percent composition, and Lewis design structure. After completing preliminary research, the sophomore chemists constructed large models of their molecules. Students based their models on the molecule’s molecular geometry and Lewis dot structure, the two factors that determine a compound’s physical appearance.
Overall, the chemistry project seemed to be a hit with students. Will Patterson, a sophomore at Jesuit, noted that he enjoyed “the molecule project more than the freshman bug project because you don’t have to kill anything.” Sophomore Will Cravens echoed this thought, saying: “The project will probably raise my grade three points.” In the end, the project raised most sophomores’ grades a couple percentage points (without requiring them to kill anything), and besides the windy weather that sophomore Garrett Standford called “extremely unfortunate,” everything seemed to turn out wonderfully.