Intermolecular Forces Discrepant Event

The following outlines a fun discrepant event demo that high school and middle school chemistry teachers can use to introduce, or review intermolecular and intramolecular forces.

Four groups of Collaborative Chemistry Communities students went to MUS to teach this demo to seven honors chemistry classes.

Objective: To provide a fun and quick demo of intermolecular and intramolecular forces.  Students should be able to define the terms and give examples of each type of force.

The set up:  Place one styrofoam cup in a pie pan at the front of the room.  Fill each of the squirt bottles and set one next to each cup.  Ask for two volunteers who will race to fill the cups.  Shortly after the students begin to spray the liquids into the cups the student who has acetone will find that their cup is “melting”.  The student with the water will be able to fill their cup.  The students observing will begin to make guesses at why one clear liquid caused the cup to “melt” while the other clear liquid did not.  The demo takes only a few short minutes and then the teacher can proceed to use the accompanying presi and worksheet to discuss inter- and intra-molecular forces.  Ultimately at the end of this 20 minute lecture the students should be able to apply the terms to the situation with the acetone and the styrofoam.

Demo Materials:

  • styrofoam cups (and peanuts)
  • two clear squirt bottles
  • acetone (fill first bottle)
  • water (fill second bottle)
  • pie pans or beakers to put the cups into and collect the sprayed liquids
  • safety glasses (for each participant)

Presentation Materials:



Spring 2018 – New Collaborators – Memphis University School Chemistry Teachers!

After taking a hiatus during last spring semester, CCC is back this spring with a new community partner, Memphis University School.  The three chemistry teachers, Mrs. Sowell, Ms. Croce and Mr. Smithson have each allowed Rhodes students into their classrooms to observe, assist and teach fun and exciting demos.  Click on each student page to learn more about their individual demos.

Our Community Partner – WAMS

Our community partner for this class was Westside Achievement Middle School in Frayser, TN.  Westside Achievement Middle School (WAMS) is part of the Achievement School District.  WAMS contains all of the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students of Frayser.  If you would like more information about WAMS please see their website: WAMS


This webpage will function as an online portfolio for the work done by students participating in the Collaborative Chemistry Community class at Rhodes College.

Five Rhodes students have forged working relationships with four science teachers at Westside Achievement Middle School in Frayser, Tennessee.