Reflection: Discourse and Questioning Philosopher Grudge Match - Section 3: Instruction


It is important here to continue to engage the students while using PowerPoint.  Many students are conditioned that a slideshow is passive copying.  To maintain engagement, I will refer to the rules they created for matter, beginning with having them classify "The Four Elements" -- earth, water, wind and fire.  I also will ask them to predict which philosopher would be more accepted based on their knowledge of each person, as well as the evidence available at the time. 

To get them to think in the mindset of the technology of the time, I ask them to think about which philosopher a three-year old would agree with -- asking students to consider how a child thinks about the world is different from the way teenagers, who have been in school for years, think. 

Having students vote with their hands for what will happen during chemical demonstrations is a useful tool for keeping students engaged.  Many of my students will also ask to video chemical demos on their phones.  It is important to stress that the demonstration will only be done once due to lack of materials- this also helps keep them focused during the demonstration.

For the conservation of mass demonstration- I prefer the precipitate reaction over the traditional sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid lab.  In the sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid reaction:  NaHCO3 (s) + HCH3COO (aq) -> NaCH3COO (aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g) a balloon is used to seal the flask, and the production of carbon dioxide inflates the balloon.  Even a dense gas such as carbon dioxide will have some lifting power, and often reduces the final mass measurement.  It is also harder to contain in the system, so the gas may escape which can reduce the final mass.  When the goal is to show a conservation of mass, losing mass produces the misconception that "gases have less mass than solids". 

The yellow precipitate formed in the lead (II) iodide reaction is very jarring to students to see, and provides a little "wow" factor which helps drive home how experiments helped confirm the presence of atoms while keeping the mass consistent.  This reaction also helps to dispel the misconception that liquids have less mass than solids.

  Instructional Choices
  Discourse and Questioning: Instructional Choices
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Philosopher Grudge Match

Unit 1: Atomic Structure
Lesson 3 of 10

Objective: SWBAT explain how new discoveries and technology influence scientific knowledge, including our knowledge of matter and models of the atom.

Big Idea: Exploring the understanding of the atom from Democritus to Dalton.

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