Reflection: Unit Planning Attaining Balance - Section 1: Background


In previous years, I presented unbalanced equations to students with regularity.  Students would usually ask at some point "why aren't there the same number of each element on each side?" which would lead us into balancing equations.

This year, I wanted them focused on how reactions conserved mass, so I presented them only balanced equations while we learned the different types.  I wanted them fully versed in reactants vs products, and the need to satisfy Conservation of Matter prior to balancing.

My colleagues took a different approach, balancing equations first, and then engaging the types of reactions.  This allowed them to have students continue to balance as a bell ringer, or extra piece of a lab as they went to sharpen the skill.

Given the struggles we ended up having with balancing equations, I think I will follow my colleagues' lead next year.  While all of us had students who struggled with balancing on our district assessment, I had more students who had difficulty with the concept.  By beginning with balancing, I'm hoping students will accord it the importance it deserves and focus on obtaining the skill.

Additionally, by not ending with balancing, students do not get burned out on the math right before we begin the mole and stoichiometry.  Having a small break would have done my students some mental good this year.

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  Unit Planning: Lesson Order
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Attaining Balance

Unit 6: Chemical Reactions
Lesson 9 of 10

Objective: SWBAT derive the need to balance chemical equations to satisfy the Law of Conservation of Matter from a concept attainment activity.

Big Idea: By analyzing data, students can construct explanations related to balancing equations, a central concept.

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balanceamento quimico balanceando equacoes quimicas
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