Grade Chemistry Embracing The Inquiry Based Approach Education Essay

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Scientific Inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. In science education, inquiry also refers to the activities of students in which they develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world through an approach to learning that involves a process of exploring the natural or material world. Inquiry allows students to ask questions, use critical thinking skills, make discoveries, and test those discoveries in the search for a new understanding of the scientific concepts in question. Inquiry involves careful observation and measurement, analyzing, hypothesizing, interpreting, and theorizing. It requires experimentation, reflection, and recognition of the strengths and weaknesses of its own methods (National Research Council 1996).

Authors Priestley et al (2000) discussed the different levels of inquiry in their article using a matrix. This matrix defines different approaches to doing inquiry teaching and it also demonstrates how the different approaches differ along a continuum of more to less teacher control of the instruction. The matrix can be used as a common manual for teachers to reinforce the instructional skills to allow for more opportunities for students to practice scientific inquiry. It also allows for differentiated instruction based on the ability levels of students (Priestly et al 2000).

During structured inquiry, the teacher establishes parameters and procedures for inquiry. The students are then provided with a hands-on problem to investigate as well as the procedures and materials necessary to complete the investigation. The students are responsible for discovering relationships and connections between the variables present in the investigation and make generalizations from the data collected. These discovered relationships and the statements made during the investigation, in essence would lead to the discovery of expected outcomes of the investigation. If the situation arises where an unexpected outcome occurs, students doing scientific inquiry should be told that not all experiments work well the first time, sometimes there are some simple errors that can be made but if precautions are taken, then the occurrence of these errors would be limited. A positive outcome from this experience could be the fact that students will be extra cautious next time, consequently acquiring some of the patience and attention that are the characteristics of a good budding scientist. The value in using structured inquiry is that it allows the instructor to teach students the basics of investigating as well as techniques of using various equipment and procedures that can be used later in more complicated investigations. In other words, structured inquiries provide students with common learning experiences that can be used in guided or open inquiry (Colburn 2000).

During guided inquiry, the design of the experimental procedure is placed in the hands of the students. The teacher provides the problem for investigation and the materials that are necessary to conduct the experiment (Colburn 2000).

Open Inquiry is similar to Guided Inquiry. Open Inquiry is primarily student directed because the students are responsible for formulating their own question for investigation and also for designing an approach to conducting the investigation. Open Inquiry can be compared to actually doing science; this type of scientific inquiry can be demonstrated when students develop a science fair project or even an in-house science project (Colburn 2000).

The use of learning cycle is another approach to structuring science lessons. This is developed by having students engrossed in an activity that introduces a new scientific concept. After the introduction of the activity, the teacher informs the students of the formal name of the scientific concept. It now becomes the students' duty to transfer their knowledge of the concept by applying it to another circumstance (Colburn 2000).

1

Table Showing Various Forms of Inquiry

Structured inquiry-Students are given a step-by-step procedure, including diagrams for making various types of electrical circuits, including series and parallel. Questions prompt students to remove individual bulbs from each circuit and record their observations.

Guided inquiry-Students are given batteries, bulbs, wires, and other materials. Procedures instruct them to make a bulb light as many ways as they can, using the supplies provided. Later, they are instructed to make two bulbs light, again, using different combinations of materials. Finally, students are asked to note what happens when they remove individual bulbs from their circuits.

Open inquiry-Students are given batteries, bulbs, wires, and other materials. They are instructed to investigate how bulbs light in electrical circuits.

Learning cycle-Students follow guided inquiry procedures, then the teacher discusses their findings. Concepts such as series and parallel circuits are introduced at this time. Students have experienced the concepts before their introduction. They eventually return to the lab to apply what they have learned to a new situation. For example, they could be given additional equipment, such as ammeters or voltmeters, to quantitatively investigate current and voltage in circuits.

Adapted from an example provided by Alan Colburn, An Inquiry Primer, March 2000.

In the proposed study, a unit of chemistry based on structured and guided inquiry approaches will be enacted in a 10th grade chemistry classroom.

Characteristics of Inquiry-based Science

How does inquiry science differ from traditional teaching?

Inquiry-based science is a method of teaching science where students learn science by using similar scientific methods, attitudes, and skills as a scientist do when they are conducting scientific research. Inquiry based approaches to science education focus on student constructing learning as opposed to teacher-transmitted information. Wilfred A. Franklin a Biology Laboratory Instructor designed a website to bring together in one place summaries and links of key concepts, practices and materials relating to Inquiry or Problem Based science education. He also designed a table to compare traditional teaching to inquiry based teaching.

Inquiry based

Traditional

Principle learning theory

Constructivism

Behaviorism

Student Participation

Active

Passive

Student involvement in outcomes

Increased Student Responsibility

Decreased Student Responsibility

Student Roles

Problem Solver

Direction Follower

Curriculum Goals

Process Oriented

Product Oriented

Teachers' Role

Guide/Facilitator

Director/Transmitter Table Showing a Comparison between Inquiry Based and Traditional Teaching

Taken from: http://www.brynmawr.edu/biology/franklin/InquiryBasedScience.html

According to the table by Franklin and the National Science Education Standards, we can visualize that, inquiry-based learning is a way of acquiring knowledge through the process of investigation. In inquiry-based learning, students either ask their own questions or questions are posed by the teacher. In the former case the question consists of topic the students wish to learn about, and in the latter case the question consists of a topic the teacher wishes students to learn about. Regardless of the source of the question, inquiry-based learning requires that students play a major role in answering the question. This can occur through designing and executing controlled experiments, making measurements and observations, or building and testing models. During inquiry based science, students utilize their prior knowledge, their experiences, and their critical thinking skills to analyze experimental situations (National Research Council 2000).

Inquiry-based science is based on the constructivist theory of learning which states that learning is an active process of creating meaning from different experiences. It can be contrasted with traditional education and direct instruction emphasizing learning facts and information from test book and teachers. To truly understand inquiry-based science, it is necessary to understand how scientist work and how scientific research is conducted (National Research Council 2000).

Benefits of Inquiry Science

Inquiry allows students to learn how to be scientists by providing them with tangible learning experiences that allow them to apply scientific knowledge to their everyday lives. During inquiry students may pose questions or entice their peers to develop their own questions. No one particular answers is correct, students are given the opportunity to become a part of the answer or to construct their own response based on any given situation. As students encounter various responses to their initial questions, curiosity and interest in the subject matter encourages them into probing more questions. Inquiry involves students to participate in communication among their peers and their teachers. They are not only responsible for asking meaningful questions, they must also report their findings both orally and in writing. This type of communication allows students to learn from the teacher; and also from each other. During inquiry, students learn the processes involved in establishing concepts and facts, they develop a sense of community in the classroom and students are required to take initiative and to become responsible for their own education (National Research Council 2000).

Inquiry based learning is an active process, rather than assimilation of information. Students benefit from working on complex problems, which can be approached from different angles. Knowledge about how to carry out a procedure is of limited value if the students do not have an understanding of how and when to use them especially when using the scientific method of investigation. Inquiry based instruction must be sensitive to the students' pre-existing knowledge of the scientific concept(s) under study. Some of these ideas might constitute a valuable base for learning, while others might not be of any value. Inquiry based instruction should involve problems that are relevant to the students' experiences outside of the school setting; enabling them to make connections between what they learn outside of school and what they learn in class (National Research Council 2000).

Inquiry-Based Learning: Advantages and Disadvantages

 The Youthlearn organization, (www.youthlearn.org), mentioned the flowing advantages and disadvantages in their introduction to inquiry based learning.

Table Showing some Advantages and Disadvantages of Inquiry Based Learning

Advantages of using Inquiry-Based Learning:

 

Helps to build self-esteem in children through allowing them to be more active in their own learning process, rather than passive via traditional lecture based methods.

Reinforces and builds several skills of students in the areas of physical, emotional, and cognitive.

Gives all students not matter what their background the ability to contribute to a project.

Lends itself well to a collaborative learning environment.

 

Disadvantages of Inquiry-Based Learning:

 

Requires more planning, preparation, and responsiveness from the educators.

Educators must be skilled in helping students learn the art of asking a good question.

To help students ask good questions, educators must also be able to ask good questions. Adapted from http://www.youthlearn.org/learning/approach/inquiry.asp

According to Watson, Swain, and Mc Robbie, (2004), designing activities involving scientific inquiry create opportunities for students to learn about the nature of inquiry itself. Creating these activities encourages students to pay attention to the processes involved in conducting scientific inquiry and also allows them to be held accountable for the learning of science. Students learn to appreciate the interesting nature of inquiry, as they realize that the scientific world is not perfect and that it takes a lot of effort to successfully complete an experiment. Working this way, students learn the value of communicating effectively and working with peers. Working together is one of the keys towards a successful inquiry based scientific experiment. Each student comes to the classroom rich with unique experiences and prior knowledge which allows them to feel the need to take ownership of their understanding as they work (Watson, Swain, & Mc Robbie, 2004).

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this research will be to investigate the effect of an inquiry based chemistry unit on levels of achievement and interest in science for a 10th grade chemistry class.

Research Questions

What levels of achievement would be displayed by 10th grade students exposed to a unit of inquiry based chemistry. Achievement would be measured by a teacher designed assessment that would allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the content taught.

What levels of interest in science would be displayed by students engaged in inquiry based learning of chemistry. Levels of interest would be determined through analysis of student interviews and classroom participation.

REVIEW OF SELECTED LITERATURE

"An important objective of science education is to help students develop an understanding of the fundamental methods of the scientific process. However, this goal can be difficult to accomplish without providing authentic scientific experiences. In essence, if students are to acquire the higher order skills necessary for posing questions, constructing explanations, collecting evidence, and testing hypotheses, they must do science" (Karl R. Wirth 2003).

What teachers need to teach inquiry based science?

The American Heritage Science Dictionary defines science as the investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced by such investigation. Science is a particular way of understanding the natural world in which we live, as science educators, if we present a scientific event or phenomenon that exists in the natural world to our students, there might be a greater possibility of our students to remember the science content because they were able to make connections to text to text, text to self and text to the natural world.

The execution of inquiry-based lessons by science teachers is influenced by a large number of factors (Roehrig & Luft 2004). Carlson (1993) and Hasweh (1987) discussed that science teachers who practice inquiry-based instruction need to be aware of the leading theories in their field. A science teacher practicing scientific inquiry should fully understand the scientific process, the nature of science, and also the facts and principles involving science as a discipline (cited in Roehrig & Luft 2004).

When teachers know the content, have the drive, and enthusiasm to engage their students in learning science; the students in return might become just as motivated as the teacher resulting in the students having more appreciation and a better understanding towards science. Pajares (1992) mentions that the teachers' perspective also plays an essential part in the execution of inquiry lessons; however, researchers argue that beliefs directly related to the educational process are the most prominent to a teacher's classroom practices (cited in Roehrig & Luft 2004).

According to Shulman (1987), pedagogical content knowledge identifies the distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching. It represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction (cited in Roehrig & Luft 2004).

Crawford (2000) points out that the growth of a teacher's pedagogical content knowledge also influences the teacher's ability to implement inquiry based lessons. Grossman (1990) on the other hand argues that the pedagogical content knowledge of new teachers is not fully developed, due to lack of experience so new teachers might not be as equipped as seasoned teachers when it comes to teaching inquiry based science (cited in Roehrig & Luft 2004).

In the inquiry-based science classroom, the teacher concentrates less on conveying their knowledge to the students, and concentrates more on assisting the students through the process of identifying and answering their own questions. This method of instruction requires the instructor to be more of a facilitator rather than a teacher when illustrating science content to their students. This approach to teaching may conflict with new teachers' pedagogical knowledge in that a new teacher might not be able to switch role as efficiently as a seasoned teacher. However, if a new teacher is provided with continued support from administration and team leaders, adequate practice and classroom demonstrations, and professional development, it will be possible for that teacher to become as good as or even better than a seasoned teacher (Roehrig & Luft 2004).

What does inquiry science look like?

Driver et al. (1996), Kuhn (1989, and Millar et al. (1994) discussed in their articles that studying science is centered on collecting evidence. Scientific inquiry involves thinking that enables the scientist to make claims supported by experiential information and to use these claims to assist in understanding explanations and theories (cited in Watson, Swain, & Mc Robbie, 2004). To allow students the opportunity to experience scientific inquiry based learning in the laboratory, they should be permitted to assist in decision making processes when developing experimental plans, gathering evidence, drawing inferences, making predictions, and evaluating the information they collected. Having students work in groups while going through the process of inquiry allows students to engage in opportunities of accountable talk where they are able to discuss and explain and justify their findings (Watson, Swain, & Mc Robbie, 2004).

Researchers including Newton et al (1999), Jimenez-Aleixandre (2000), and Richmond and Striley (1996) discussed in their research the fact that argumentation during scientific inquiry should be encouraged because it allows students to be engaged and drive them to become more involved in a discussion of the content being taught. These researchers also found that scientific discussion and arguments about evidence found in science lessons involving inquiry was very rare. They believe that students doing scientific inquiry should spend less time talking about the nature of the task, less time on the teachers' requirements for that particular assignment, and what they need to write; and spend more time participating in evaluating knowledge claims, offering justification for different hypotheses, and trying to support their justifications with different scenarios (cited in Watson, Swain, & Mc Robbie, 2004).

Existing procedures in the classroom or laboratory make the assumption that the progression of using hands-on skills and methods to learn science is an exclusive process allowing students to work individually. This means that students work in isolation from each other so that, once they have garnered enough knowledge of conducting successful laboratory procedures, they will be able to apply their knowledge in a systematic manner to carry out scientific inquiry (Watson, Swain, & Mc Robbie, 2004). Driver et al (2000) mention in their article that scientific inquiry does not work in the manner mentioned by Watson and Swain. They noted that scientist in the real world usually work in research teams where they discuss among themselves experimental designs to obtain evidence to demonstrate how practical science relates to theoretical science. Driver et al (2000) also mention that if scientific inquiry is treated as an individual activity, the ability to work out scientific questions through argumentation would be ignored (cited in Watson, Swain, & Mc Robbie, 2004).

Cooperative grouping is a huge part of using the inquiry based approach to teaching science. When students are allowed to carry out scientific inquiries in groups, they are given the opportunity to use their practical skills and processes which entails the idea of the students having to discuss and argue among themselves about different methods to successfully carry out an experiment and also assess the method of inquiry they chose and in essence they take ownership of their knowledge and understanding (Watson, Swain, & Mc Robbie, 2004).

Barriers to implementation of inquiry based science

Grossman's statement about new teachers might be true; however, the opposite might also be true. Although new teachers might be inexperienced in the classroom environment, they might still have the desire to want to learn how to master their craft. Experienced teachers on the other hand, might be teaching for a number of years and be extremely resistant towards change; they sometimes do not want to keep abreast of the changes in modern technological advances. Grossman (1990) also says that a new teacher's pedagogical content knowledge requires the combination of the supporting knowledge domains of subject matter, pedagogy and context (cited in Roehrig & Luft 2004). New teachers are inclined to depend a great deal on one area of knowledge rather than taking simultaneously from all domains, as compared to an experienced teacher (Roehrig & Luft 2004).

Researcher Ronald Anderson discussed in his research the magnitude of the task of preparing teachers to successfully conduct inquiry teaching. He says that teachers need to know how to teach constructively, acquire new means of evaluation, learn new teaching responsibilities, and learn how to design lessons that will allow students to become more involved and more motivated to learn the content needed to be understood; in other words promote new forms of student learning (Anderson 2002). In addition, Anderson mentions that teachers and people in other positions of leadership in education need to be able to create an environment of collaboration in their community. This will allow them the ability to offer a framework within which teachers are able to reflect on their teaching styles and strategies and discuss methods of improving and refining their teaching principles and ideas (Anderson 2002).

Assessment of inquiry based learning

When assessing students after using the inquiry based approach to teaching, the assessment should also be composed using the same inquiry based style. A multiple choice examination is not an effective method of assessing students who were taught using the inquiry approach. As a budding science educator, the author believes that students who are taught using the inquiry approach should also be assessed using inquiry approach. This is believed because when students learn using inquiry based approaches, there is no one correct response to a question, the questions used for assessment should be open ended so that students are given the opportunity to justify their responses. Although multiple choice questions only have one correct response and they are quick and easier to grade, these types of questions might limit the students' ability to express their knowledge about the content being tested. Researchers Watson and Swain reported that this aspect of inquiry is often neglected when students' work is being assessed. They also mentioned that if a students are taught using the inquiry based approach, and then the students' work should be assessed with focus on a written product involving an inquiry based response produced by an individual student. An individual student's ability and performance in competently carrying out the procedure of a scientific experiment can also be used as a form of assessment. The development of arguments in order to fruitfully plan and conduct an inquiry-based science activity and to evaluate the adequacy of the data, and the ability to formulate conclusions using the data collected is often neglected (Watson, Swain & Mc Robbie, 2004).

Outcomes of Inquiry Based Science

According to investigators Gibson and Chase, a large number of studies conducted in the middle and high school settings proved that the inquiry based approach to teaching science has positive effects on students' achievement, laboratory skills, and general comprehension and learning of science when compared to traditional teaching methods (Gibson & Chase 2002).

Gibson (1998), Jaus (1977) and Shringley (1990) all agree that inquiry based learning is a more beneficial way for students to learn science. They made mention of studies that showed improvements in students' attitudes towards science and school in general when they were taught using the inquiry approach as compared to traditional teaching. In addition, these researchers said that traditional teaching results in students demonstrating more negative attitudes towards school and learning as a whole (cited in Gibson & Chase 2002).

Chang and Mao (1998) found that when students are taught using the inquiry based approach, the score significantly higher on achievement tests than those students that were taught using the traditional instructional approach (cited in Gibson & Chase 2002).

Gibson and Chase (2002) summarized some of the outcomes of using the inquiry based approach to teaching science as compared to using the traditional instructional approach. They express facts indicative of students learning science using an inquiry approach score higher on science achievement tests, have improved science processing skills and have positive attitudes towards learning and doing science (Gibson & Chase 2002).

METHODOLOGY

In the designed action research study, the researcher attempted to investigate the levels of achievement that would be displayed by 10th grade students exposed to a unit of inquiry based chemistry and also the levels of interest in science that would be demonstrated by students engaged in inquiry based learning of chemistry. A sample objective in this unit was "students would be required to make hypotheses about the factors that would determine whether an object would sink or float, then test these hypotheses via a student guided experiment."

This research would be conducted in two high school chemistry classes, at the Coppin Academy Charter High School taught by the researcher. Class A consisted of 22 students, 10 males and 12 females and class B consisted of 23 students, 7 males and 17 females. The average age of the students involved is 15 years. The students were involved in completing the Baltimore City Public Schools middle school science curriculum and also the physical science curriculum taught in the 9th grade at Coppin Academy Charter High School.

Classes would meet five times a week for an hour each session. Students were involved in two week teacher designed unit of inquiry based chemistry where they participated in several experimental activities in chemistry. Students would be required to make hypotheses, make predictions, conduct the experimental activities, draw conclusions, and write detailed laboratory reports based on the experiments conducted and their findings.

Students would be required to make hypotheses based on the objectives of the lesson that were designed by the instructor. They would then be required to test their hypotheses, make observations and record their observations in a systematic manner. The students would then be required to demonstrate their understanding of the chemistry content that was taught by writing laboratory reports based on their observations and findings.

Inquiry Unit

The unit that would be taught in this research is a two part unit titled "Density" for part one and "Rates of Reactions" for part two. Five lessons would be taught on density where the general objectives would allow students to become familiar with various ways of determining the density of an object. The students were responsible for designing experiments to determine the density of regularly and irregularly shaped objects. During these laboratory activities students would be involved in constructing their definitions for mass, volume and density by comparing the observations that they made while conducting their experiments. Two lessons would be based on the factors that affect the rate of a chemical reaction. The students would be required to investigate the effects of temperature, surface area and concentration on the rate of a chemical reaction. Each lesson included an engagement that will allow students to make hypotheses and become involved in some discussion about the content of the activity. The engagement would be followed by an exploration, where students actually conducted the experiment and the exploration was followed by and evaluation, where students wrote laboratory reports about their findings. The students laboratory reports will be graded for content and students understanding of the material being taught. This will be possible with the utilization a rubric based on the instructor's expectations.

Data Collection

The data collection for this research would be done using two teacher designed achievement test and levels of interest which would be measured by student interviews, classroom participation, and teacher observations and journaling.

The teacher designed test will include open ended questions that encircle the content taught. These questions will be aimed at testing the students' understanding of the content, their knowledge about the content and also their ability to take what they know and design and experiment based on question or given situation and also apply their knowledge to real world situations.

The researcher will also grade the students' laboratory reports as a means of assessing their knowledge and understanding of the unit of inquiry based chemistry taught in this research. Laboratory reports will be graded using the rubric mentioned earlier in the previous section.

Participating students will be interviewed and asked to write a summary of their feeling and their attitudes towards learning science in this manner. The interviews and summaries will be reviewed in an attempt to gain insights, make comparisons among them, and also to look for trends in the students' attitudes towards science so that the researcher would be able to make modifications during the planning and preparation of the lessons.

Students' attitudes will also be observed by the teacher, who will record by journaling, how students behaved in the classroom and also their classroom participation during the laboratory exercises. The researcher will then review the journals and notes of classroom participation in an attempt to find common trends among them.

Data Analysis

The students' scores/performance on the achievement test would be collected and plotted on frequency graphs. The means and standard deviations would be mathematically computed and compared. In addition to those mentioned a t-test would be done to measure whether the means of two groups are statistically different from each other. This information would also be used to compare the students' grade from the first quarter to their grades in the second quarter (when the research was conducted). Separation of the data would be done by class and also by gender.

Interpretations of the interviews, classroom activities, and the teacher journals would be compared and look for common trends among them as a group, individually, and upon completion of the lessons.

Examples of Inquiry Based Lessons

Inquiry-based science is a method of teaching science where students learn science by using similar scientific methods, attitudes, and skills as a scientist do when they are conducting scientific research. In the lessons that follow, students will be asked to conduct simple experiments that occur in everyday life and then students will report their finding in the exploration sections of each lesson. Students have to relate their findings to real world situations.

Lesson Plan #1

Unit Title: Density

MSDE and BCPSS standards: Students should know how to gather and interpret data related to physical and chemical properties of matter (in this case density)

Lesson Objective: Students will be required to make hypotheses about what factors determine whether objects sink or float, then test these hypotheses via a student guided experiment.

Engagement: Students will make observation of various objects sinking or floating in a beaker of water, to test the hypotheses they formulated. They would also provide some information about what factors affects the ability of an object to sink or float.

Exploration: Students would be required to understand some principles involved with density by looking at two video clips based on mass and volume. After viewing these clips the students along with the teacher will be involved in a discussion about mass and volume and how they are related. Another discussion would stem from the previous one discussing why some objects float and why some sink. After this discussion, another video clip on density will be shown.

Evaluation: Students would be required to write a laboratory report on the experiments that were conducted using density mentioned above. Each laboratory report must contain an aim, apparatus and materials, procedure, observation, results, calculations and a summary that provides a detailed description of how the experiment enhanced their knowledge about density as a physical property and density calculations. Diagrams should be used to clarify the responses given.

Lesson Plan # 2

Unit Title: Density

MSDE and BCPSS standards: Students should know how to gather and interpret data related to physical and chemical properties of matter (in this case density)

Lesson Objective: Students will be required to make hypotheses about the consistency of various liquids. (corn syrup, oil, alcohol and water).

Engagement: Students will make observations of various liquids as mentioned in the objective. They will be probed to answer the questions "what are some differences among the liquids being observed?" and "what happens when oil and water is mixed?" (use salad dressing as an example)

Exploration: Students would be required to understand some principles involved with the density of liquids. They will also be required to make a "household density column."

Evaluation: Students would be required to write a laboratory report on the experiments that were conducted using density mentioned above. Each laboratory report must contain an aim, apparatus and materials, procedure, observation, results, calculations and a summary that provides a detailed description of how the experiment enhanced their knowledge about density as a physical property and density calculations. Diagrams should be used to clarify the responses given.

Lesson Plan # 3

Unit Title: Density

MSDE and BCPSS standards: Students should know how to gather and interpret data related to physical and chemical properties of matter (in this case density)

Lesson Objective: Students will be required to make hypotheses about what factors determine whether objects sink or float, then test these hypotheses via a student guided experiment.

Engagement: Students will make observation of objects sinking or floating using a can of coke and a can of diet coke. Students will make hypotheses prior to carrying out the investigation about both cans of soda.

Exploration: Students would be required to understand some principles involved with density. They will fill two large beakers with the same volume of water and place the diet coke in one beaker and the coke in the other and make observations about both cans to test their hypotheses.

After being exposed to the concepts and knowledge involved when learning about density, students will be asked to determine the density of doth cans of coke using calculations given the apparatus and materials needed to do so. The will be required to obtain the mass of each can using a triple beam balance and the volume using the displacement method.

Evaluation: Students would be required to write a laboratory report on the experiments that were conducted using density mentioned above. Each laboratory report must contain an aim, apparatus and materials, procedure, observation, results, calculations and a summary that provides a detailed description of how the experiment enhanced their knowledge about density as a physical property and density calculations. Diagrams should be used to clarify the responses given.

Questions for thought

1) What is in the Coke can that makes it denser than Diet Coke?

2) What is in the Diet Coke that is not in the Coke?

Lesson Plan # 4

Unit Title: Density

MSDE and BCPSS standards: Students should know how to gather and interpret data related to physical and chemical properties of matter (in this case density)

Lesson Objective: Students will be required to make hypotheses about what factors determine whether objects sink or float, then test these hypotheses via a student guided experiment.

Engagement: Students will make observations of a pen cap in water and a pen cap in alcohol and record the observations they made. They will then make observations of an egg in tap water and an egg in salt water and record the observations made.

Exploration: Students would be required to understand some principles involved with density. They will place equal volumes of water and alcohol in two separate containers and then the will make observations of a pen cap in each container. They will do the same using tap water and salt water making observations of an egg in each container. Students will then devise a way for the pen cap to be submerged in water and alcohol and the egg to be submerged in tap water and salt water.

Evaluation: Students would be required to write a laboratory report on the experiments that were conducted using density mentioned above. Each laboratory report must contain an aim, apparatus and materials, procedure, observation, results, calculations and a summary that provides a detailed description of how the experiment enhanced their knowledge about density as a physical property and density calculations. Diagrams should be used to clarify the responses given.

Questions for thought

1) What accounts for the behavior of the egg?

2) If you threw a water balloon (filled with fresh water) in the ocean, would it be likely to sink or float? Why?

Lesson Plan # 5

Unit Title: Rate of a chemical reaction

MSDE and BCPSS standards: Students should know how to gather and interpret data related to the rate of a chemical reaction.

Lesson Objective: Students will be required to make hypotheses about the effect of surface area on the rate of a chemical reaction

Engagement: Students will predict whether an Alka Seltzer tablet will dissolve faster as a whole tablet, as two halves, four quarters or crushed.

Exploration: Students would be required to design an experiment to determine how fast the different versions of Alka Seltzer will dissolve in water. Each group will be provided with four Alka Seltzer tablets and four glasses. They will put the same volume of water in each glass and then place the four different version Alka Seltzer in their respective glasses and record the time it take for each one to dissolve completely.

Evaluation: Students would be required to write a laboratory report on the experiments that were conducted using the conditions mentioned above. Each laboratory report must contain an aim, apparatus and materials, procedure, observation, results, calculations and a summary that provides a detailed description of how the experiment enhanced their knowledge the speed of a chemical reaction. Diagrams should be used to clarify the responses given.

Lesson Plan # 6

Unit Title: Rate of a chemical reaction

MSDE and BCPSS standards: Students should know how to gather and interpret data related to the rate of a chemical reaction.

Lesson Objective: Students will be required to make hypotheses about the effect of temperature on the rate of a chemical reaction

Engagement: Students will predict whether an Alka Seltzer tablet, sodium chloride crystals and magnesium sulfate crystals dissolve faster in cold water or hot water.

Exploration: Students would be required to design an experiment to determine solubility of the solids mentioned above are affected with a change in temperature of the solvent. They will measure the time the solid takes to dissolve in cold water as compared to hot water. They will also measure the amount of solid that dissolves in cold water as compared to amount dissolved in hot water.

Evaluation: Students would be required to write a laboratory report on the experiments that were conducted using the conditions mentioned above. Each laboratory report must contain an aim, apparatus and materials, procedure, observation, results, calculations and a summary that provides a detailed description of how the experiment enhanced their knowledge the speed of a chemical reaction. Diagrams should be used to clarify the responses given.

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