Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Mole and Molar Mass - Section 3: Explore


This was the first year I had students begin with this exploration activity to determine the relationship between Mole, Molar Mass, and Atomic Mass.

I did not anticipate how difficult it would be for students to figure out the pattern between Mole and Molar Mass with the periodic table Atomic Mass.

For most of the groups I had to walk around and clarify the post-activity questions.

For the first question, "Do you notice any patterns about the masses of each of the mole samples with information from the Periodic Table," I had to rephrase the question and tell students to "Look at the Mass of the Sample Itself and what you wrote down from the Periodic Table to find a pattern."  For some groups I had to go further and actually say, "Look at Aluminum, what was the mass of the sample? Now look at Atomic Mass of the Sample from the Periodic Table, what does that round to?"

For the second question, "How do you think that Dr. Meisner was able to determine a mole of atoms of each element sample." I had to reword for most groups and say, "So how do you think I knew how many grams to weigh out when I placed a mole of the substance into the container?"  Or to go further I would ask groups something like, "So if I wanted to give you Copper instead what would I look for to figure out how many grams of Copper to weight out into the petri dish?"

Through this clarification process I was able to help most students start to see the pattern which then made it much easier for them to develop a conceptual understanding of the idea of a mole and molar mass later on in the notes.  

  Difficulty with Patterns
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Difficulty with Patterns
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Mole and Molar Mass

Unit 2: Unit 2: Matter, Atoms, and the Periodic Table
Lesson 3 of 11

Objective: Students will be able to explain the concept of a mole and molar mass and be able to perform mole-mass conversions through lab activities, notes, whiteboards, and practice calculations.

Big Idea: The mole is a quantity that allows chemists to convert from the atomic scale to macroscopic scale.

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