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Lesson Plan

Lesson: Structure of Solids

Aim: To investigate the structure of solids, allotropes and crystal systems

Learning Outcomes :

At the end of the lesson, students will be able to :

1. explain the terms lattice, unit cell and allotrope.
2. identify the properties of the seven basic crystal structures : cubic, hexagonal, monoclinic,
orthorhombic, rhombohedral, tetragonal and triclinic.
3. identify the allotropes of carbon: diamond, graphite and fullerenes; and describe the bonding and
structure of diamond and graphite.

Assumed prior knowledge :

Students should already :

1. be familiar with the basic concept of covalent bonds.
2. know the electron arrangement of the carbon atom.

Underlying Principles

1. Making the invisible, visible.

Time taken to complete the activities : 80 minutes


Questions in the student notes are designed to enable all students to complete the activity. The pop-up
answers are provided for the students to view when they have considered their responses. Worksheet
questions include questions that require recall, understanding and application of the new concepts

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Development of Lesson :

No. Steps Strategy Resources

1 Set Induction. x Teacher to quiz students on the simple
(Ascertaining prior electron arrangement of the carbon atom
knowledge and ie. 2.4 and the concept of covalent bond.
introducing lesson
topic for the day). x Teacher to show students samples of
crystalline substances eg. copper(II)
sulphate, sodium chloride, etc. and to get
students to examine their shapes.
Teacher to use these samples to
introduce the lesson topic.

2 Student Activity Teacher to go through Activities 1 - 3 with x Courseware

the students.

x Activity 1 : Lattice and Unit Cells

Get students to see parts of a crystal
structure being removed to reveal the
smallest repeating unit, the unit cell.

x Activity 2 : Crystal Shapes

Get students to examine the shape of
each of the 7 basic crystal structures
by comparing the lengths of the three
sides and the three angles between the

x Activity 3 : Allotropy
Get students to examine the three
allotropes of carbon; diamond, graphite
and fullerene in terms of their structure
and physical properties : melting point
and electrical conductivity. Students get
to view the three-dimensional structures
of these allotropes from different angles
and to examine the special arrangement
of the carbon atoms in each structure.

3 Evaluation x Students to answer questions in the x Worksheet

student worksheet on their own.

4 Extension activity x Students to go through the extension x Website

activities on their own. x Reference

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Worksheet Answers

1. Lattice and Unit cells

1.1 a. A regular arrangement of particles (atoms, ions or molecules) in repeating units.

b. The smallest identical part of a crystal structure.

2. Crystal Shapes

2.1 a. Cubic, hexagonal, monoclinic, orthorhombic, tetragonal, triclinic, rhombohedron.

b. a = b = c, D = E = J = 90q

3. Allotropy

3.1 a. Allotropes are different crystalline forms of the same element. One example is carbon. Diamond,
graphite and fullerene are allotropes of carbon.

b. i. The valence electrons of each carbon atom in diamond are not able to move freely throughout
the solid as they are used to form covalent bonds. There are mobile electrons in graphite that
can move freely throughout the solid as only three of the four valence electrons are involved in
covalent bonding.

ii. Graphite is an electrical conductor.

3.2 a. Giant molecular structure

b. O O

Si Si



c. Covalent bonding

d. 109.50

e. Silica is hard. / It has very high melting and boiling points.

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3.3 a. In graphite, the bonding between the parallel layers of atoms are relatively weak van der Waals
forces which can be broken easily. The layers of atoms can slide over each other, hence graphite
is slippery and can be used as a lubricant.

On the other hand, the carbon atoms in diamond are linked by strong covalent bonds. It is very
difficult to distort the diamond crystal because this would involve breaking the strong covalent

b. In diamond, the carbon atoms are held together by strong covalent bonds and are therefore,
packed closely together. In graphite, the parallel layers of atoms are held by weak van der Waals
forces so the distances between the layers are bigger. The atoms in graphite are not as closely
packed as in diamond.

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