Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Decomposing Hydrogen Peroxide - Section 3: Students in Action


Chemistry is both exciting and new to middle school students. Many students have experience only as observers of chemical changes and not acting as a chemist themselves. As young chemists, students need to move beyond being observers. When background knowledge is activated, it helps students make connections that will help them make sense of their observations.

Students need opportunities to create and observe models. Middle school students especially benefit from developing models. They are transitioning from concrete to abstract thinking. With a hands-on lab students have a model to refer to as they develop their understanding of the more abstract representations of chemical formulas and equations. 

The observation charts prompt students to collect information they can then use to look for patterns and identify temporal spatial relationships - how does this quantitative information connect to my common sense background knowledge? Students are taking data collected and making sense of it through guided inquiry.

The Next Generation Science Standard of Practice 2 is about developing and using models. Models are building blocks for student understanding. Once they have a model, it can be used as a foundation for new learning. Students will build upon their models as they acquire new information. Models scaffold student thinking and learning.


  Activating Prior Knowledge
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Activating Prior Knowledge
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Decomposing Hydrogen Peroxide

Unit 4: Chemistry
Lesson 4 of 7

Objective: SWBAT explain that a catalyst enables a chemical reaction.

Big Idea: How is a chemical catalyst like an umpire?

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