Reflection: Student Communication LeChatelier Lab - Section 3: Carrying Out Investigation


One of the most difficult things for me as a teacher is to write in plain, clear language for my students.  Many of my students are functioning 2-4 grade levels behind in their reading skills, so adapting laboratory activities can be particularly challenging.

In addition to being low readers, we have built an incomplete skill set into many of our readers in trying to make them good standardized test takers.  Students have been taught to skim and scan, and to jump about in a reading.  Unfortunately, this can be not only counter productive in the laboratory setting, but also hazardous.

This year I have been working with both the students themselves, and our literacy coach to find ways to make the procedural instructions in my lab investigations more clear for students.  Whereas 6 years ago I could use complex steps and have students complete more than one task per step, we are finding that students now prefer and work better with a longer list of simple steps, rather than a short list of complex steps.

Likewise, showing links between the procedure and data improves efficiency in lab, whether it be like in this experiment where I put the procedure numbers into the data table, or embedding the data tables into the procedures themselves.

I am planning to make these changes to the early investigations of the school year, and slowly withdraw the supports, building student capacity to handle a more generally written lab as the year goes on.  While the students need them early on, by the 4th quarter students should have learned how to connect and navigate within an experimental writeup to function without these supports.

  Clear Instructions
  Student Communication: Clear Instructions
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LeChatelier Lab

Unit 5: Kinetics and Equilibrium
Lesson 13 of 17

Objective: SWBAT test predictions regarding stresses on a reaction system at equilibrium.

Big Idea: Reaction systems at equilibrium can be manipulated toward favoring either the reactants or products.

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