Reflection: Checks for Understanding What Is A Chemical Reaction? - Section 4: Class Discussion


As students are working on collecting observations, I verbally ask students what they are observing.  I do this to check for understanding of the task at hand--and to make sure that students are documenting their observations.  I deliberately tell them that "no change" is also an observation that should be recorded.

 Then, students use their observations to answer the analysis question: "List the combinations of chemicals that seemed to produce chemical reactions.  Explain why you think each one was a reaction, using your observations as evidence."  I craft the question to be low-risk, emphasizing that I am asking them what combinations they think were chemical reactions.  Their answers, therefore, cannot be wrong, even if their thinking is.  I ask for their explanations and justifications for their thinking so that they are using their own observations as evidence.  They observed what they observed--there are no arguments about empirical evidence they have collected.  How they choose to interpret that evidence can be correct or faulty, but by phrasing the question as a "what do you think" question, it allows students to express their thoughts with flexibility to be mistaken.

  Asking for Evidence & Allowing for Incorrect Answers
  Checks for Understanding: Asking for Evidence & Allowing for Incorrect Answers
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What Is A Chemical Reaction?

Unit 3: Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
Lesson 1 of 14

Objective: SWBAT determine if a reaction has occurred when two substances are mixed and provide lab evidence for that determination.

Big Idea: When two substances are mixed, a chemical reaction may or may not occur; there are specific things that we can look for to determine if a reaction occurs or not.

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