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# Incredible Chemical Reaction GIFs Explained

**1) Disintegration (Mercury Reacts with Aluminum)**

When aluminum rusts, it creates a protective oxide layer that prevents the aluminum atoms underneath from further rusting. That is, until mercury is applied. Mercury prevents an oxide layer from forming, making the rust reaction continue uncontrollably. The process isn’t as fast as what’s depicted in the GIF though; it actually took two hours to rust through the aluminum beam above. What isn’t depicted in the GIF is the sluffed off rust that formed a pile at the base of the aluminum beam as the reaction progressed.

**2) Pharaoh’s Serpent (Mercury (II) Thiocyanate Reacts with Oxygen)**

The reaction depicted above, nicknamed the “Pharoah’s Serpent,” actually use to be a common classroom demonstration. It also use to be sold in stores as fireworks until people realized it’s actually fairly toxic. As its name hints, it contains very poisonous mercury. Mercury (II) thiocyanate exists as a white solid that when heated, expands to become a brown solid due to its decomposition to carbon nitride. Sulfur dioxide and mercury (II) sulfide are also produced. Nowadays, if you want a similar effect but don’t want to risk touching mercury, you can try making a “Black Snake” by heating a mixture of sugar and baking soda in a beaker.

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# How To Teach Math With LEGOs

by Katie Lepi of Edudemic

Using Legos in the classroom is not a new concept at all. There are so many different classroom applications for the popular brightly colored bricks, and despite the myriad of uses, the go-to task for Legos is most often math. The handy little nubs sitting atop the bricks offer a chance to teach things like area and perimeter, the different colors lend themselves well to fractions.

The handy infographic below takes a look at different ways to use fractions to teach math. The visual aspect is pretty handy – you can clearly see how your students will be able to group and divide the blocks to grasp the concepts in a fun way. Do you have other math-specific ways you’ve employed Legos in the classroom? Share your awesome ideas with the Edudemic community by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

## Using Legos To Teach Math

**Fractions:** Using bricks of the same size but different color, have the students count out the denominator (total bricks) and the numerator representative of each color. You can employ any size bricks for this task.
**Area and Perimeter: **Using bricks of any color, construct a rectangle or square. The students can use the nubs on top of the bricks to calculate the area and the perimeter of each shape they create.
**Multiplication: **Using bricks of various sizes (ie 4 nubs on top, 8 nubs on top), students can calculate how many total nubs there are based on the number of same-sized bricks. Thus, a group of 4 ‘size 4′ bricks would yield 16 nubs)
**Mean, Median, Mode, and Range: **Using groups of different sized bricks (ie, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1) and totaling the nubs on each group, students can calculate the mean, median, mode, and range.
**Place Value: **Using a bullseye visual or other type of visual (like this one), place different ‘sized’ bricks in each category, and the students can use that information to write out the number indicated. This could make for fun group work in class.

This is what a dispute looks like on DIY. :)