Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Phase Change - Section 1: Introduction


Schema Reflection

There are few people who are not comfortable with the idea that ice melts. However, start to scratch the surface of this seemingly simple concept and you’ll find a higher level of complex ideas than meets the eye. For example, water is made of particles that have varying levels of organization and energy depending on its phase, and temperature change and phase change do not necessarily happen simultaneously. In this lab, I often hear students say that it was boring. “All we did was watch ice melt and our hands got tired from all the stirring.” However, when we link this seemingly simple lab to vocabulary words like boiling point or phase change, everyone starts off with a similar experience, a mental picture, and a graphical representation to apply these words. This is the power and importance of schema (e.g. a concrete experience upon which to apply conceptual learning). People learn from reading by applying what they know to what is on the page. In the abstract world of chemistry, any time I can give students schema I do because it increases their reading comprehension, which in turn increases their learning. For more information about schema, consider reading the article Key Comprehension Strategies to Teach


  The Importance of Schema
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: The Importance of Schema
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Phase Change

Unit 1: Chemical and Physical Properties
Lesson 9 of 11

Objective: Students will be able to model phase change using relevant scientific vocabulary.

Big Idea: Phase changes result in rearrangement of a substance's particles and changes in the particles' energy. A phase change diagram shows temperature and phase changes do not happen concurrently.

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  60 minutes
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