Reflection: Positive Reinforcement Titration Lab - Section 5: Application


“The parts of the brain responsible for more "top-down" control, controlling impulses, and planning ahead—the hallmarks of adult behavior—are among the last to mature.” The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction. National Institute of Mental Health.

Some of my students are bigger than me. Many of my students look like adults, and have adult responsibilities. However, I am often reminded of the above NIMH quote when working with my students.

I don’t reference this quote in a derogatory way. I reference it because I want to advocate for patience. Over the past three lessons, I have had time to reflect on the need for patience, and the times when I was a student when I was not treated patiently by a teacher. These times fall into two categories.

The first category is related to how fast or slow I was learning something. Each year, chemistry gets easier for me. This is expected, as my experience increases so should my facility with the subject. This is great, as it is easier for me to teach. However, there is a real danger that comes with this expertise. The gap between me and my students grows a little wider each year. My hope is that my patience increases a little bit each year to compensate for this gap. I remember teachers getting angry when I could not learn something as quickly as they wanted me to, because they had forgotten their own struggle and challenge decades earlier. Compound this with our understanding of the teenage brain, and it seems that patience is certainly in order.

The second kind of patience revolves around the types of mistakes that students make in the lab. I have learned that getting angry when students accidentally stray from the lab procedure does little to help anyone. While I might express my concern about everyone’s safety, typically students cannot do themselves or others harm from making this type of mistake in my high school lab. In thinking about the “planning ahead” component of the still developing teenage brain, it seems only fair that when mistakes are made,  I should show compassion, guidance, and patience because that is what is developmentally appropriate for the student.

In the video in which students forgot to add the phenolphthalein, everyone ends the encounter with a smile. A lesson was learned in a patient environment.

  The Importance of Patience
  Positive Reinforcement: The Importance of Patience
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Titration Lab

Unit 7: Acids and Bases
Lesson 11 of 12

Objective: Students will determine the concentration of a base by conducting a titration.

Big Idea: The molarity of an acid or a base can be derived from a balanced chemical equation, a mole ratio that compares the acid and the base, and titration data.

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