Reflection: Checks for Understanding Crack That Marble! Properties of Matter Labs - Section 5: Crack That Marble Lab Rotation


I often my students really get it?  I mean, I know the feeling I get during a unit when I can see the light bulbs in their brain turning on and I know a successful summative assessment when I see it.  However, how much of that learning is retained?  Sometimes I wonder if true mastery can't be assessed while in the middle of a unit.  When our whole focus is on a concept, it can be easier for students to repeat and apply things they have recently heard or seen.  On the other hand, I find that application of past learning are really the moments where I can see those students that "really get it".  The video below shows some insights of this very thing I discovered when providing feedback on student work.


As shown in the video above, I had two "ah-ha" moments when looking at my student work.  One, many students that I have seen write wonderful scientific paragraphs did not write effectively.  I realized that as this was a lab for students to show their independence, I did not prep them or specifically say, "Remember, write like a scientist." or "Use the ABCDE format we have been using in our writing".  Thus, some students reverted back to the way they began writing in the middle of the year.  This was a realization that while these students can write effectively, they have not mastered it.  Until it is automatic, mastery is not really achieved.  In addition, in the "Milk Jug Transparency" station, much to my enjoyment, I found that many students wrote that the milk jug became transparent because "the molecules spread apart allowing light to transmit through it".  Earlier in the year, we learned about waves including absorption, reflection, and transmission of light.  Here, in this chemistry lab, students had applied this vocabulary to a different situation, months after the waves unit.  Now, that kind of demonstration of mastery deserves a "fist pump"!

  Checks for Understanding: Evidence of Mastery: Do they really get it?
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Crack That Marble! Properties of Matter Labs

Unit 4: Physical Properties: Molecular Arrangement and Phase Changes
Lesson 4 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to identify the physical and chemical properties of substances in a reaction.

Big Idea: In this high impact and fun series of labs, students crack a marble, melt a milk jug and expand a baby bottle to identify physical and chemical properties.

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