Unit 1 Project Launch

Unit 1 Project

Background: With our first unit of chemistry nearly complete, consider all you have learned thus far.  Our initial review of matter (including mass, volume, and density) led to an introduction of the periodic table.  While researching an element for our class periodic table and your element profile project, we expanded our learning to include a brief history of atomic models, and a deeper dive into our current understanding of how atoms are constructed (protons, neutrons, and electrons) and how changing those particles impact an atom.  We learned that the elements are born in stars, with heavier elements forged in the explosive forces of supernovae, while unstable atoms experience decay over time.  We learned that neutrons decay into protons, protons decay into neutrons, and atoms can gain or lose electrons according to well-defined rules (main-group elements) and less-well-defined rules (transition metals).  We learned how to assemble ions into compounds, how to identify the metals in ionic compounds using the flame test, and how to write electron configurations of elements according to the number of electrons in subshells.

“The cosmos is within us.  We are made of star stuff.  We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

What does this quote mean to you?  Your assignment for this project is to unpack Carl Sagan’s famous quote, applying what you have learned during chemistry in unit 1 to your own effort to know yourself.

Deliverable: A well-written essay shared with Mr. Swart as a Google Doc

Due Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Assignment Criteria:  Using the analogy of “If I were an atom…” explore what makes you who you are.

  • Chapter 1: What are your intensive and extensive properties? What makes you who you are and you don’t see changing over time (intensive properties)?  How have you changed over time, and what changes do you anticipate for yourself in the future (extensive properties)?
  • Chapter 2: Where does your name come from? What does your name mean to you?  What does your name mean to others?  What symbols best represent who you are and why?  Consider your reactivity: what gets you excited?  If you were an element on the periodic table, what group would you be in and why?
  • Chapter 3: Perception and reality are not always easy to align. Just like the way scientists have revised models of the atom over time to better reflect new experimental data, perceptions of who we are should be updated as well – by ourselves and by others.  Think about how well your teacher and classmates know the real you.  How well do you know the real you?  What are your most important parts (your metaphorical protons, neutrons, and electrons).  Share insights about yourself that are not obvious to someone who doesn’t know you well and would like to know you better.  What are your needs (fusion)?  What are your gifts to the world (particles shared through decay – let’s make decay a good thing!)?  What are your hopes and dreams, and how will they positively impact others (fission)?
  • Chapter 4: How will you own your future?  What do you intend to accomplish this year, five years from now, ten years from now?  Neutral atoms are fairly predictable – what do you see as your most likely path when you look to the future?  How about your path if you were an ion, able to clear out or add a few extra electrons and make life really interesting for yourself – what would that look like?

Grading: Your essay will be evaluated as a unit exam, a category that comprises 20% of your semester grade.  Incorporate as many Unit 1 vocabulary words as possible (highlight in bold font), in a manner that isn’t forced, to demonstrate mastery of the unit and a deep understanding of yourself.  I look forward to learning more about you!

Grading Rubric:

Vocab Words (from chapter 1-4 notes) 20 or more 15-19 10-14 Less than 10
Content Self-reflection from all 4 chapters thoroughly explored Self-reflection from 3 chapters thoroughly explored Self-reflection from 2-3 chapters moderately explored Self-reflection surface-level or more than two chapters missing


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