Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Reaction Rate Experiment: Putting the Pieces Together - Section 2: Do Now/Activator


Prior to this lesson I was able to learn about how students were thinking about reaction rates by reading their written responses for the introduction section of their lab packet. I learned that students could name the relationship between increased surface area, temperature, or concentration and reaction rate, but they could not explain why these relationships existed. For example, students understood that increased temperatures led to an increase in reaction rate, but they did not understand that this was because particles were moving faster and that collision theory states that reactions occur when colliding particles contain sufficient energy. It became apparent from reading their work that they needed help with linking their understanding of factors that affect reaction rates with the underlying kinetics that explain why these relationships occur.

Knowing what students did and did not understand led to my decision to use a visual representation of collision theory and reaction rate. My choice of the video was inspired by my desire to use an engaging medium to show how the ideas of molecules in motion, collision theory, and factors that affect reaction rate relate to one another. Using visual representations and storytelling was an effective way for students to increase their understanding. The video uses students in a school hallway as an analogy for particles, and it uses students smashing into each other to symbolize collisions. Weeks later, students still referenced the “date to the prom” video when we reviewed the unit prior to test day.

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Reaction Rate Experiment: Putting the Pieces Together

Unit 6: Reaction Rates
Lesson 6 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to explain how kinetic molecular theory and collision theory relate to a reaction rate experiment.

Big Idea: Chemical reactions result from collisions between moving molecules. Higher temperatures, greater surface area, and larger concentrations lead to higher reaction rates.

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