Reflection: Continuous Assessment Exploding Popcorn: Exploring How Internal Temperature Affects Mass and Volume (Part 1/2) - Section 3: Explore and Explain


An effective strategy to help students make sense of what is occurring during the popping process is to have them draw a flowchart diagram of the stages the popcorn progresses through as it pops. I ask them to include labels and explanations as they move through the investigation. This provides a perfect visual formative assessment and provides opportunities for discussion in terms of crosscutting concepts. Students can visualize the process as a system with their drawing as a system model. The visualization also helps students "see" patterns, cause and effect mechanisms, flow of energy and matter, and how structure and function relate.

After students collect data and formalize conclusions about the data, they can add to their diagrams to create a creative, visual summative assessment. For students who are second-language learners, visual or kinesthetic learners, or students who require support, the diagram helps make this lab more accessible and helps in the assessment of students who may not be able to write complete conclusions.For an excellent example, see this: Exploding Popcorn Drawing Student Work.

  Continuous Assessment: Explaining Through Diagrams
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Exploding Popcorn: Exploring How Internal Temperature Affects Mass and Volume (Part 1/2)

Unit 6: Properties of Matter
Lesson 3 of 14

Objective: SWBAT measure changes in mass and volume of a popcorn kernel.

Big Idea: Matter is all around us and is always changing. By investigating how popcorn changes when it is popped, students learn about mass and volume.

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