Reflection: Homework Evaporation of Alcohols - Section 4: Closure/Clean-Up


Formative assessment is another buzzword in education.  How to make formative assessment streamlined into your lessons is a big money conference speech.  What is often left out is how to use that formative assessment data and adjust your instruction.

In this case, I was aware from seeing student graphs that they were having issues with their lab procedures and therefore getting bad data.  Where it was blatantly obvious, and time permitting, I had students repeat a trial or two of the lab.

However, some times the evidence of struggling didn't appear until the lab was cleaned up and they were sitting up front writing their conclusions.  Finding the errors this late provided two options:

1) Repeat the experiment the following day

2) Have a class discussion and make sure everyone sees the correctly collected data from the groups who did well

Ideally, we would do part 1 every time.  With the end of the semester looming large, time (and facility use) is not always permitting for re-running labs.  Therefore, I judged that we could correct our errors through mini-presentations of each groups' data and seeing how a careful group got better data.  With another lab coming in two days, this also provided a quick turnaround for students to show improvement in their techniques and attention to detail in the procedure.

My choice paid off, and although the initial papers weren't well done, by the end of the discussion, most groups had not only understood where they messed up procedurally in lab, but could explain why the molecules of longer-chained alcohols had stronger attractions to each other.

  Adjusting the Flow
  Homework: Adjusting the Flow
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Evaporation of Alcohols

Unit 3: Intermolecular Forces
Lesson 7 of 9

Objective: SWBAT infer the strength of intermolecular forces in four different alcohols from their evaporation rates.

Big Idea: Intermolecular forces are observable at the bulk scale using physical properties of matter.

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