Cells & Homeostasis: Revise PBL Posters – Day 2

Students spent the short Friday class period putting the finishing touches on tri-folds in preparation for presentation day on Tuesday.  While they worked, students were reminded to discuss questions (and their own responses) they might anticipate from audience members, and to consider how to engage their audience members with questions about career paths.  On Monday, students will share their lists of anticipated questions, receive a list of questions they will be asking audience members about career paths, and then spend the class period practicing their presentations and fine-tuning their tri-folds.


Matter, Atomic Structure, and Bonding: Review Lessons 17-19

We spent the short Friday class period catching up on work from the first three lessons of Chapter 4 (Lessons 17-19).  As a reminder, the assignments from this week are as follows:

Lesson 17: Worksheet and textbook Qs #1–2

Lesson 18: Worksheet and textbook Qs #3-10

Lesson 19: Worksheet and textbook Qs #2-16 (evens)

Looking to dig deeper into the Periodic Table?  Check out the Dynamic Periodic Table website and explore the rich collection of data for all of the elements in the table.

Students should read Lesson 20 this weekend to prepare for class on Monday.  Also, the quarter ends on Friday, November 6, so students should make every effort to catch up on missing work to ensure their quarter grade accurately reflects their current mastery of course content.

Matter, Atomic Structure, and Bonding: Ions

Our learning about electrons continued with the Lesson 19 PowerPoint introducing students to the concept of ions.  Students received the Noble Gas Envy handout and we walked through the example on the whiteboard.  The discussion prompted a student question about how two atoms of hydrogen bind with an oxygen atom to form a water molecule which was also captured on the whiteboard (pictured below).  For classwork, students received the Lesson 19 Worksheet and the Ion Cards Game Cards that accompanies it.  For homework, students should complete the Lesson 19 textbook questions #2-16 (evens only).


Cells & Homeostasis: Practice PBL Presentations

Students worked on their tri-fold posters all class period, printing content and practicing presentations.  While they worked, student groups were challenged to come up with three questions to anticipate from visitors to their group’s poster on Tuesday.  Examples of questions to anticipate:

  • Why did you pick your solution?
  • How did you select your group’s members?

Matter, Atomic Structure, and Bonding: Valence and Core Electrons

We began the class period by creating a table of the data from yesterday’s Flame Test lab, which students then used to complete the Lesson 17 Worksheet.


We also reviewed the Lesson 17 PowerPoint before transitioning to Lesson 18.  There are several hand-outs for Lesson 18, including the Lesson 18 Worksheet, the Lesson 18 Shell Model, the Table of Electron Shells, and the Table of Valence and Core Electrons.  We reviewed the Lesson 18 PowerPoint through slide 9 and will complete the remaining slides tomorrow.  For homework, in addition to completing the Lesson 18 worksheet, students should work through questions #3-10 at the end of Lesson 18 in the textbook and then read through Lesson 19 in the textbook.

Cells & Homeostasis: PBL Research – Day 6

Due to a last-minute scheduling change, we had the opportunity to spend our final lab in the computer lab today instead of tomorrow.  This worked out nicely, as many groups realized yesterday their tri-fold presentation boards needed additional content.  After today, students will need to arrange computer time outside of class if additional research is needed to complete the project.  We will be back in the classroom tomorrow assembling tri-fold presentation materials and discussing anticipated audience questions.

Matter, Atomic Structure, and Bonding: Flame Tests

We began Chapter 4 with the Flame Test lab.  We reviewed the safety requirements and lab mechanics.  There were stations set up around the room with portable Bunsen burners, chemicals to burn, and equipment to conduct the flame test.  Students recorded their results as described on the Lesson 17 Worksheet.  Students were also offered 10 points of extra credit for taking video of the flame tests and editing them together into a video.  Students also received a print-out of the electron structure of a sodium atom, showing what happens when the outer shell electron of sodium is excited.  The lab took most of the class period, so we will discuss results tomorrow.  Students should complete as much of the Lesson 17 worksheet as possible, read Lesson 17 in the textbook, and answer questions 1 and 2 in the textbook.

Conducting the flame test
Conducting the flame test
Flame Test lab safety equipment
Compounds tested

Cells & Homeostasis: Assemble PBL Posters

Student groups received their printed Google Doc materials and a used tri-fold poster board.  They were provided with Pirate yellow paper to re-cover the tri-folds and then began sketching out how their content would be attached to their boards.  The process helped students identify remaining areas of need so they can focus their efforts on Thursday, our final class day in a computer lab.  The pictures below show an example tri-fold layout for students who need some inspiration and guidance, as well as a list of goals for the rest of the week.

Tri-fold example
Goals for the week

Cells & Homeostasis: PBL Research – Day 5

We completed our first week of problem-based learning (PBL) with a quiz about Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), an opportunity for students to reflect on how well their group has been working together, and a call for questions about the work we have been doing.  Based on student feedback, here are several documents for students to review, reference, and print if desired to better help them understand our work:

Information about the HAB PBL

Rubric for the HAB PBL Research phase of the project

Rubric for the HAB PBL Presentation phase of the project

Multiplier Worksheet (for groups with inequitable member contributions)

We will work today in a computer lab, with students encouraged to use the time efficiently to discuss the current state of their group’s project and to identify any opportunities for research to fill gaps in group knowledge before spending the next two days in class working on the tri-fold (or equivalent) presentation content.

Matter, Atomic Structure, and Bonding: Chapter 3 Quiz

Chapter 3 came to a close today with a quiz.  This marked the first time students were assessed with a chapter quiz without having previously seen an alternate version of the quiz.  The results varied widely, with a top score of 19/20, a low score of 4/20, and an average of 11/20. The results indicate some re-teaching may be necessary in addition to a renewed commitment by students to maintain the high level of study habits required for success in chemistry class.  It may also indicate the extended length of the current chapter made it challenging for students to maintain the focus needed to maintain content mastery.  We will discuss as a class on Monday.