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Modeling Instruction in High School Chemistry

Modeling Instruction in High School Chemistry



An overview of the Modeling Method in Chemistry. This presentation was created by Larry Dukerich and Brenda Royce

An overview of the Modeling Method in Chemistry. This presentation was created by Larry Dukerich and Brenda Royce



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  • We’re here to tell you about the application of the Modeling Method of instruction (first developed for use in high school physics) to the high school chemistry course.
  • First some background on what is the problem with conventional instruction. Bullet-1 David Hestenes refers to the first as “factons”, what students record and try to reproduce on tests. The 2nd category he calls “factinos”, stuff that passes unimpeded through students’ heads.
  • Our students don't share our background, so key words, which conjure up complex relationships between diagrams, strategies, mathematical models mean little to them. To us, the phrase inclined plane conjures up a complex set of pictures, diagrams, and problem-solving strategies. To the students, it's a board, and it makes a difference which way it is tilted. All my careful solutions of problems at the board simply made ME a better problem-solver.
  • There is a big difference between the mathematical ‘game’ of stoichiometry and being able to describe what is going on in a reaction vessel. Ideally, students would do both simultaneously.
  • What does it mean to be ‘2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen’? There can be a very real gap between their words and how they perceive matter at the microscopic level (for more than just water!!)
  • The real roadblock to many students is not which atomic model they use, but whether they have ANY sufficiently developed atomic model that is consistently applied. SAMPLE STUDENT WORK NEXT
  • The steel wool turns color when heated. Some think that some part of the gas from the burner flame in now trapped in the wool, but few actually drew atoms that combined to form new substances.
  • This is why I have a problem with texts that ruin the story by going to the end of the book right away. If we want students to see science as more than a collection of facts, then we have to connect our models to the evidence that lead to them.
  • What should we teach? Our students should learn to do the following: They should see that physics involves learning to use a small set of models, rather than mastering an endless string of seemingly unrelated topics.
  • This word is used in many ways. The physical system is objective; i.e., open to inspection by everyone. Each one of us attempts to make sense of it through the use of metaphors. Unfortunately, there is no way to peek into another’s mind to view their physical intuition. Instead, we are forced to make external symbolic representations; we can reach consensus on the way to do this, and judge the fidelity of one’s mental picture by the kinds of representations they make. So the structure of a model is distributed over these various representations; later we’ll provide some specific examples.
  • Students WILL work from a model of matter** - the question is which model and is it a rigorous, scientifically supported model applied consistently to all situations **refer to storyboards
  • Emphasis on points 1 and 2.
  • Reference: “The Story So Far” doc
  • Reference: Energy Paper
  • Here are the key ways in which the modeling method differs from conventional instruction. Students present solutions to problems which they have to defend, rather than listen to clear presentations from the instructor. The instructor, by paying attention to student’s reasoning, can judge the level of student understanding.

Modeling Instruction in High School Chemistry Modeling Instruction in High School Chemistry Presentation Transcript