Reflection: Student Grouping Introduction to Solutions - Section 2: Explain


The nature of chemistry classrooms, with having roughly 30 students, requires that students work with groups on their labs.  It is important to ensure that all students are working well together so that they can all have experiences with doing labs and learn the content.  In order to allow this to occur I find that it is important to use cooperative groups.  I use cooperative groups for most of my lab activities. 

In my classroom, each cooperative group has four members with distinct roles.  They include:

  1. Primary Investigator: Keep everyone on task
  2. Post Doc: Read the instructions out loud
  3. Graduate Student: performs the procedures and enlists others to help out
  4. Undergraduate Student: cleans up.

The way in which I assign students to groups and to these roles is by using a deck of cards.  I make sure that I have the correct number of cards per students in the class (so with 28 students I would keep the Aces through 7's of the deck) and then pass out the cards.  The beauty of using cards is that it helps to ensure that students are randomly being assigned to groups each time to increase the chance that they will work with different students.  If there are certain students that I feel don't work well together than as I pass out the cards I will make sure that those students don't get the same number. 

Once students have their cards I then tell them to look at their cards to see what their roles are.  I have one suit (for example the spades) be the Primary Investigator, another suit (for example heart) be the post-doc, etc.

If I don't have a multiple of 4, then I will either have some groups only have 3 and have those groups combine the Primary Investigator and Post-Doc, or I will add a 5th person to a group and tell that person that they are also going to be a Graduate Student.

This video shows me reviewing with my students how this works in my classroom.

  Student Grouping: Cooperative Lab Groups
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Introduction to Solutions

Unit 7: Unit 8: Water Quality
Lesson 1 of 11

Objective: Students will be able to make solutions and analyze the solutions' concentrations both qualitatively and quantitatively through performing a lab activity.

Big Idea: Solutions are homogenous mixtures composed of solutes dissolved in solvents and can be analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively.

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Science, Chemistry, Acids and Bases, solution, water
  55 minutes
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