From: Fiona Rae (FRae@hopkinton.k12.ma.us)
Date: Fri Jan 31 2003 - 14:43:09 EST
It's all about getting these pictures into the heads of our students. My level 2 students are very concrete learners and as was mentioned numerous times on the tape, this is a abstract subject. I find myself doing ridiculous things like jumping off the lab bench onto a high stool, or low stool or the floor, releasing "photons" of different colored cards for different energies, to show how the excited electrons fall back down to their ground state. It is worth it if they remember "when Mrs Rae got all excited"!
I liked the demo of the rubbing alcohol on the overhead screen to show the different bond strengths. I usually ask for a couple of volunteers to have water applied to the back of one hand and acetone to the other and have then describe what they notice. The girls usually know what will happen because they have used nailpolish remover, but it is a novelty for a lot of the boys.
Here is a great site for the students to see the periodic trends for them selves.
They can sit with a partner and summarize their findings and be ready to share why the trends might be that way. They seem to be more receptive to the explanation if they have had time to think about it and discuss it first.
Analogies work really well for some of my kids. I tried one for ideal gases last week. Two students want to feel that intermolecular force (get together and chat in the hall) but if I keep them moving (high KE = high temp) and have them use different hallways (far apart = low press) then they behave more like ideal students (gases). Kinetics lends itself to analogies. My eldest son was always the rate determining step, (last out to the van whenever we were going anywhere) and no matter how much I sped up the rest of the reaction (how fast the other kids got out to the van) the reaction was always dependent on the slow step (#1 son). I use the "coffee shop" as the "catayst" - a place for the sweethearts to meet and get to know each other other, and feel some Chemistry!!- the catalyst is just a place for the reactants to come together and doen't actually take part in the reaction in that it is unchanged at the completion of the reaction.
I think animated models really help the students get these pictures into their heads but skits, rap songs, 3-d models or stories all have the students processing the information and getting more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle so that the big picture becomes clearer. It's so great to see the "eureka" moments when they "get it".
Happy reactions Fiona Rae, Hopkinton High, MA PS Hi there to the Buffalo teacher. My own kids all went to Lew-Port