The Egg in a Flask Mystery (Day 2)

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SWBAT collect data from simulations and other online resources that pertain to the egg phenomenon.

Big Idea

Modeling and visual thinking are powerful tools to augment student conceptual understanding. This lesson gives students the opportunity to use simulations and gamification to strengthen their explanation of the egg phenomenon.

Researching Their Need to Know Lists by Viewing Simulations

45 minutes

Now that my students have collected empirical data using thermometers, created a need to know list and recorded other observations in their notebooks, I want to give them an opportunity to watch simulations about phenomena that pertain to the egg demonstration.  Students will then take their empirical evidence and the knowledge gained from the simulations to create a new model within their group.  

It is important to set a meaningful, in this case real world, context. So, I explain to students that scientists are often faced with data and they must figure out how it pertains to their present understanding of nature.  This activity is exactly how scientists go about making new discoveries.  

Simulations that you may want to give your students access to:

American Chemical Society Air in a Bottle Simulation 

ASPIRE Cosmic Ray Simulation on Gas Particles in Motion Have students click on 'Changing Temperature' 

American Chemical Society Molecular Motion Note the molecules are water, but the point is made from the simulation that amount of thermal energy affects molecular motion.

PBS Hot Air Balloon Simulator

Hot Air Balloon Simulation

Hot Air Balloon Video

Here is an example of observations that students collected from the molecular motion simulation in their science notebooks.  Note: The thermometer must have switched to Fahrenheit during the after measurement. 

This image is a screen shot of the American Chemical Society Molecular Motion Simulation.  It shows what happens to a liquid, but I still find it useful at getting kids minds thinking about how energy affects molecular motion.

This image depicts students working on the PBS hot air balloon simulation game.  The power of gamification--the process of using games to teach content and conceptual understanding--become apparent as you ask them to record their observations from the activity.  Later, they look at the cause and effect relationship associated with heating and cooling of air and how that affects the flight of a hot air balloon. 

Individual Student Reflections

10 minutes

Since this lesson sets the stage for practices that they will use for the rest of the year, such as interpreting data and formulating arguments, I utilize the the last 5-8 minutes of class to allow students to reflect on the ideas that they have learned today.  

This video shows how a student is using his new data to hypothesize about how the egg got into the flask.

I ask them to discuss how evidence that was collected from their research may help to develop their explanation of how the egg got in the flask.  

We then have a 2 minute class discussion where various students share their new found appreciation for using evidence and models to help them come up with an alternate explanation for the egg phenomenon.

I close by telling students that tomorrow they are going to learn about a certain writing structure, C-E-R, that is going to help them clearly explain how their evidence can be used to make an argument (SP 7).