Elements? Molecules? Compounds?

Elements. Or should that be atom? No, is it a molecule? Silly me, no, wait, it’s a compound? Ahhh! After a rather lengthy “term war” with my son, we finally got on the same page for his Chemistry project. I wrote the project assignment, you’d think I would know what I was asking. Alas, science is NOT my thing. I did use the right term, but I was thinking of what it would look like by visualizing another term. Thankfully no actual blood was spilled during our term war, but I did feel like my head was going to explode. Whew. Now that we’re on the other side of that, it’s on to the actual project – make models of elements discussed throughout the book.

I thought this project sounded like fun. So much fun, I decided to make a model of my own. After all, what good parent/teacher doesn’t jump in and get their hands dirty, all in the name of science and education? We’d spent some time looking at photos on-line to get some ideas on how to proceed. He chose one way, I chose another. While he headed to the kitchen to make salt dough and begin his project, I headed to the craft cabinet to gather the supplies for mine. With beads, nylon string, and pipe cleaners in hand I set about my job of creating a Krypton element (that’s what my other son suggested I make).

I count out my 36 red protons, 48 green neutrons and 36 light blue electrons. In no real pattern, the protons aKrypton atomnd electrons are strung on the nylon string. To form the nucleus, I gingerly tie my string of beads into a jumble of knots, threading the beaded string within itself until I had a sort of glob of beads. My nucleus. Next, the electrons are staggered around 3 graduating sizes of pipe cleaners, twisted together to form 3 circles. The nylon thread from the string of beads was long enough that now I tied everything together so the nucleus would hang in the center of the smallest pipe cleaner circle and so on. Voila’, the element Krypton. All in all, the project took me about a half an hour.

Sitting at the table, stringing my beads and making tiny knots I’m once more humbled and amazed at just how detailed, intricate and complex our world is. What it took to make simply a representation of one tiny atom of one tiny element – I’m reminded of how vast and amazing God is. As I look around the simple room I’m sitting it, and out the window to the trees and space around me that make up the minute speck of the world that I inhabit, I marvel that there are more atoms surrounding me than I can fathom, and that each atom is made of up of even smaller stuff. Yet all that “stuff” was lovingly and carefully designed and ordered by an incomprehensibly intelligent God. I love seeing God in everything around me – even my little model of the element of Krypton.

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