Reflection: Problem-based Approaches The Flame Test - Section 6: Debrief


This lesson is a good example of one way in which I support my students in analyzing data in order to address a question of interest. I give students a procedure, and then have them wrestle with it. One thing that became quite obvious to some students is that color is a difficult measurement to pin down. In light of this fact, I was much more helpful in providing useful data than I would have been with a lab that should have generated clear and compelling data. I did this because I wanted students to be able to calculate frequency. In some lessons, the math is an integral part of a student’s answer. Stoichiometry labs come to mind. In this lesson, the science was a way to increase student engagement so that they would work with math. Many students wrestled with scientific notation and the speed of light formula with its odd units in the previous lesson. By bringing making this math grounded in something that students could clearly see (beautiful colors) I was able to embed some challenging math in an activity that students enjoyed.

  The Limits of Our Data
  Problem-based Approaches: The Limits of Our Data
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The Flame Test

Unit 3: The Atom
Lesson 5 of 7

Objective: Students will use a flame test to identify the presence of various metals in solutions.

Big Idea: Electrons give off energy in the visible light spectrum when they go from an excited state to a ground state. This can be demonstrated with a flame test. Different elements have different flame test colors.

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