Reflection: Intrinsic Motivation In the Heat of the Summer: Density Test - Section 2: Do Now/Activator


The power of engagement should not ever be underestimated. It was so fun to come into class to students asking me questions about who the criminal was. I got to be coy, feigning ignorance and reminding students about the importance of using facts and data, evidence in other words, to answer that question, and that they the students were the ones who were going to have to answer that question.

This lesson was up and running before students even walked in the door! In this lesson and the forensics lessons that follow I tap into the natural interest that millions of viewers have shown for forensics programs on television, and my own love of Raymond Chandler-style mysteries, to turn a relatively dry subject of chemical and physical properties into a compelling and interesting series of lessons.

The lessons took some time and effort on my part, but so would cajoling students to do their work when they were less engaged. Students came to class eagerly and they were having fun.  Research shows that these states of mind are important but often overlooked prerequisites for learning. Engagement helps turn students minds on so learning can happen.

  The Importance of Engagement
  Intrinsic Motivation: The Importance of Engagement
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In the Heat of the Summer: Density Test

Unit 2: Forensics
Lesson 1 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to conduct a density test as they work towards building a body of evidence in an attempted murder mystery.

Big Idea: Density is a tool that forensic scientists use to match glass samples to the scene of a crime.

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  60 minutes
broken window
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