Intro for Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 1 of Project)

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SWBAT create a stop-animation video that shows what happens on the molecular level during a simple chemical reaction.

Big Idea

Bonds are broken and atoms are rearranged before forming new bonds during a chemical reaction; Matter is conserved.

Why This Lesson?

This lesson is a "how-to" for students to complete their first culminating project (of two) that will be used as a summative assessment for this unit.  It is part of a 5-day in class project, followed by a week of out of class time.  The in-class portion timeline is detailed below:

  • Day 1 is spent introducing the project (this lesson!).
  • Day 2 is spent providing students with tools and examples of storyboarding, scripting, and set design [Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 2 of Project)].
  • Days 3 & 4 are group work time for students.  There is no separate lesson write-up for these days because students are working at a variety of paces and on different aspects of their pre-production.  During these two days, I am available to support student progress and answer any questions they have.  I keep an eye on groups and make sure that they are progressing toward a successful product, reminding students to use the rubric to guide their video making.
  • Day 5 is our last day of pre-production during which I meet individually with each group to evaluate their progress toward completion of the pre-production rubric [Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 5 of Project)].

Having students create an end product (in this case, a video) that demonstrates their understanding of what happens at the molecular level during a chemical reaction addresses multiple Science and Engineering Practices.  First, students will be making and using models to show a chemical reaction occurring (SEP 2).  Students will need to verify the molecular structure of their reactants and products after identifying a chemical reaction to use in their videos which involves obtaining and evaluating information.  Then, they will be communicating information through the form of video (SEP 8).  During the video, students will construct explanations of conservation of matter and molecular rearrangement (SEP 6).

Multiple Performance Expectations are also addressed.  Students are creating a video that shows the outcome of a simple chemical reaction by modeling that reaction and providing detailed explanation as to what is occurring to the bonds and atoms in the reactants to make the products, directly addressing HS-PS1-2.  Two more Performance Expectations are indirectly addressed: HS-PS1-4 and HS-PS1-5.  Students must understand what occurs on the molecular level during a chemical reaction in order to address the changes in bond energies resulting in endothermic or exothermic reactions (HS-PS1-4).  In order for students to understand how changes in temperature or concentration effect reaction rates, they must have a basic understand of the molecular interactions during a chemical reaction (HS-PS1-5).

Finally, there are three Crosscutting Concepts that are addressed.  Students are using a chemical reaction equation to represent a chemical reaction, which addresses XC-SPQ-MS-4, a middle school crosscutting concept that is still particularly important for students at the high school level to master.  Students must clearly demonstrate understanding that matter is conserved during a chemical reaction which directly addresses XC-EM-HS-1.  They are also using models to simulate the chemical reaction and not actually performing the chemical reaction, which addresses XC-SSM-HS-3.

Introduction to Project: Past Student Samples

15 minutes

I tell my students that they will be completing two projects as part of their overall unit assessment: one video and one lab analysis with report.  I explain that our focus for this week is the video project.

I begin by showing my students sample videos from past years.  First, I ask students to look for 4 key points:

1.  Does the video show a balanced chemical reaction?

2.  Can you tell what the reactants are and what the products are?

3.  Is it clear that the atoms in the reactants are rearranging to form the products?

4.  Did the video go too long?

Here are a couple of possible samples:





Description of Group Member Roles & Selection

10 minutes

I pass out copies of Job Descriptions for Video Projects to my students.  I summarize responsibilities associated with each job as we read through the job descriptions.  Then, I pass out scrap pieces of paper (I use a paper cutter to cut a stack of copies to reuse as scratch paper into fourths.) to students.  I ask students to put their names at the top of the blank side.

Then I tell students to really think about what jobs they would be best suited for.  I ask students to quietly think about their strengths and what they would be happiest doing within a working group.  I also tell students that I will be assigning groups, but that students will have a say in what job they have.

I tell students to list their top choice (out of the four possible job descriptions: producer, director, set designer, and cinematographer) and their second choice for jobs.  I create the groups giving students either their first or second choice jobs.

I collect the student job requests.

Brainstorming Chemical Reactions

10 minutes

In order to free up time for me to assign groups based on student job requests, I give my students a quick 10 minute assignment to brainstorm different chemical reactions.  Not only does it give me time to create groups, it also gets students thinking about possible chemical reactions to use for their video project.

I write on the white board:  "List 5 different chemical reactions that you can think of.  What makes them chemical reactions?"

I tell students to answer the question in their Warm-Up/Reflection books, even though this is not really a warm-up or a reflection.

While students are working on the brainstorm assignment, I quickly sort through the student job request papers and make groups.

Group Assignments

5 minutes

I tell students to discuss among their table group (my tables seat 2-3 students each) what chemical reactions they thought of during the brainstorming assignment.  As students do that, I write the group assignments on the whiteboard.  I designate jobs with P for producer, D for director, S for set designer, and C for cinematographer.  

Then, I ask students to find their group members and move seats if necessary so that they are all sitting together.


10 minutes

Next, I pass out copies of a storyboard template that I got here.  I give each group two copies.  I explain that the director is ultimately responsible for the storyline and the overall flow of the video, but everybody should contribute.

I explain that there is a Video Project Timeline to follow and that the producer has to make sure that deadlines are met.

I tell students to choose a chemical reaction to feature in their video.  It can be a reaction that they discussed during brainstorming or another reaction.  I allow my students to use their electronic devices to look up chemical reactions online if they are having difficulty choosing one.  

I also pass out two grading rubrics at this time.  I explain that the Video Preproduction Scoring Rubric will be used on Day 5 of the project to assess where groups are and the Video FINAL PRODUCT Scoring Rubric will be used to grade the final video.

Students are given the rest of the class period to begin initial planning of video, starting on their storyline templates once a reaction has been chosen (and approved by me).


A Note on these Rubrics:  The "Video Preproduction Scoring Rubric" consists of 5 topics--Concept, Storyboard, Script, Set Preparation, and Teamwork.  These things let me easily assess strengths and weaknesses in student progress toward the final goal with clear checkpoints documented in each category that would correspond to a 1-4 on the rubric.  Concept is an indicator of whether or not the video topic or story is aligned with the assignment and once students know they are on the wrong track early enough, they can correct the error before an entire video is complete.  The Storyboard, Script, and Set Preparation categories allow me to communicate to students that they are making progress on the task (or not) and what minor corrections they can make along the way to create a successful product.  Finally, the Teamwork category allows me to acknowledge groups that are working together well (or not) and to also spark conversations within the groups as to how they are congealing as a team.

The "Video FINAL PRODUCT Scoring Rubric" also consists of 5 topics--Demonstrating Understanding of a Chemical Reaction, Logistical Requirements, Production Value, Proper Use of Models, and Teamwork.  These categories are similar to the Preproduction categories, but they are focused less on the journey of creating the product and far more on the quality of final product.  I explain to my students that oftentimes, the only thing that matters to a boss is what the final product or outcome is, and therefore, the final rubric focuses primarily on that.  Demonstrating Understanding of a Chemical Reaction is the overall goal of this project, and the rubric breaks down and clearly delineates the differences between 1-4 scores.  Logistical Requirements and Production Value honors the time and energy spent making the video and highlights groups that take the production seriously, conscientiously creating a top-notch final video product.  Proper Use of Models relates to the Demonstrating Understanding of a Chemical Reaction and keeps students accountable for meeting Scientific and Engineering Practice 2.  Finally, Teamwork is again graded, emphasizing that teamwork is important throughout the lifetime of any project and collaboration is a critical skill.