7. What interaction patterns are established?

“What interaction patterns are established?” is a question that involves selecting which classification systems and models are most relevant to understanding chemical processes for a particular purpose. Chemical reactions exhibit patterns that allow us to classify them in different groups to facilitate prediction, explanation, and control. Multiple classification systems and chemical models are often used simultaneously to analyze a process depending on the purpose and context. For example, a process may be thought of  as a redox reaction when used in an electrochemical cell but as an addition reaction if used for synthetic purposes. Acid-base reactions can be understood by accounting for proton transfer or by paying attention to electron sharing. This chemical thinking question is often central to the analysis of chemical processes used to synthesize and analyze substances, and to harness chemical energy.

The Electroplating Copper formative assessment was developed by a past ACCT cohort member.


The Electroplating Copper activity is a formative assessment task that targets chemical mechanism. Thus, its aim is to give teachers opportunities for learning how students think about how chemical processes occur. In this formative assessment task, students are asked to focus on how electrons “flow” and what this has to do with chemical changes in substances. They are asked to consider the properties of the different substances involved. Then they observe a chemical process occur and come up with ideas about what they think is going on.