Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding LAB: Is This Reaction Endothermic or Exothermic? - Section 4: Student Investigation


I am deliberately NOT including thermometers TODAY because I want this investigation to be qualitative and to reinforce conceptual understanding of heat flow.  If students are busy with temperature reading and recording, they can often get caught up in the data instead of focusing on understanding what is actually happening.

However, I do not want to diminish the importance of quantitative observation!  In follow-up investigations, students will be using thermometers and measuring quantitatively what is happening to the system temperature as endothermic and exothermic reactions/processes occur.  For today, I want my students to be able to immediately differentiate between endothermic and exothermic.  In a 3 lesson series later in this unit, students will be designing their own investigations in order to answer a endo/exo related question of their choosing.  These investigations will need to include quantitative data.  I believe that before introducing calculations (like "delta" T), students will benefit from this more qualitative experience that sets the stage for later work.

  Why NOT Use Thermometers?!
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Why NOT Use Thermometers?!
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LAB: Is This Reaction Endothermic or Exothermic?

Unit 4: Thermodynamics
Lesson 1 of 11

Objective: SWBAT identify reactions in lab as either endothermic or exothermic.

Big Idea: Measured changes in temperature can help us classify chemical reactions as either endothermic or exothermic.

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