Reflection: Perseverance Atoms: The Big Picture, The Little Picture - Section 5: Application


Students are sometimes not engaged in science investigations because they are afraid to be wrong. My favorite part of this video is when the student makes a small mistake while modeling the atom--for the first time. His response is that this is why he does not like to be filmed. What he meant was that he did not like to make a mistake, as if mistakes when doing something for the first time are bad. Something we are working on in our school culture is the idea of mindset, as developed and popularized by Carol Dweck. I hope in this video I was supportive, but what the video made me realize in retrospect is that I need to remind students that our scientific knowledge and discoveries are all based on a million false starts. I used to have a sign in my classroom that read "If you are afraid to be wrong you can't do science." Maybe it is time to reemphasize this important point. A child learns to walk by falling repeatedly, but she never gives up, and that is how we should view all learning.

  Sometimes you gotta be wrong before you can be right
  Perseverance: Sometimes you gotta be wrong before you can be right
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Atoms: The Big Picture, The Little Picture

Unit 3: The Atom
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to name the parts of the atom and their location within the atom. They will also be able to calculate the number of atoms in a sample of an element.

Big Idea: The atom is made of a nucleus comprised of protons and neutrons, and an electron cloud found outside of the nucleus. Atomic mass and Avogadro's number can be used to figure out how many atoms are in sample.

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  60 minutes
carbon atom
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