Especially JCE: January 2019

JCE cover for January 2019

The Journal is a jumping-off point. When I read even a finely crafted activity, I know there are going to be tweaks I will need to make to use it. Maybe it’s because of what I do (or don’t) have in my science supply stash. Maybe it’s because my curriculum plan focuses only on a certain concept, so I plan to pull just a piece of the activity. Maybe it’s designed for a different grade level, and I’m adjusting the questions. This customization is one of the reasons I appreciate the “Supporting Info” documents from JCE authors.

Case in point in the January 2019 issue:  (available to JCE subscribers). I like how the lab experiment gives students a better picture of how scientists and engineers work—there is often no “right” answer. The authors describe the activity as “an inquiry-based learning approach where students are presented with a series of possible solutions to a given problem, each with conflicting advantages and disadvantages, requiring students to choose factors they think are most important for a specified application.” Students prepare three mixtures, each with the same amount of Plaster of Paris, but differing amounts of water (cue a discussion of density and viscosity). They place each mixture in identical star-shaped cookies cutter as molds. After adequate drying time, they evaluate various properties, such as strength, aesthetics, and ease of molding.

To bring this into a classroom, I’m set with most of the materials, but the cookie cutters pose a problem. Each small group needs 3 identical star-shaped cutters as molds. Students could test different shapes, depending what I could find at a thrift store or borrow. Or, my cupboards hold options like silicone cupcake molds, jar lids, or silicone candy molds (bacon-shaped, anyone?). The authors also offer suggestions in their article based on teacher testing feedback, such as premeasuring Plaster of Paris for students, so I'll incorporate that. I’d also prefer the middle school groups to estimate the cost of water and plaster using local numbers, rather than those offered by the authors. How to integrate these changes? Look for Supporting Info (see graphic below). After clicking on the link, the article offers four separate files in both PDF and Word formats, making it easy to adjust the details, while retaining the overall lab.

Chemistry & Coffee Connections

The January 2019 editorial by Marcy H. Towns,  (freely available), shares an opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The group encourages breakfast get-togethers among women involved in chemistry, at any location around the world. IUPAC’s chosen date—Tuesday, February 12, 2019—is coming fast. You can check for get-togethers in your region, or register your own event at . Get connected!

More from the January 2019 Issue

Mary Saecker reminds readers that JCE is “Ninety-Six Years New” in her post Jump into what’s new and innovative among chemical educators, or visit past valuable pieces. Mary gives you the scoop! 

Is there another article from the Journal that you’ve used as a jumping-off point to fit to your situation? Share! Start by submitting a , explaining you’d like to contribute to the Especially JCE column. Then, put your thoughts together in a blog post. Questions? Contact us using the ChemEd X .

NGSS

At the high school level students are expected to engage with major global issues at the interface of science, technology, society and the environment, and to bring to bear the kinds of analytical and strategic thinking that prior training and increased maturity make possible. As in prior levels, these capabilities can be thought of in three stages—defining the problem, developing possible solutions, and improving designs.

Defining the problem at the high school level requires both qualitative and quantitative analysis. For example, the need to provide food and fresh water for future generations comes into sharp focus when considering the speed at which world population is growing, and conditions in countries that have experienced famine. While high school students are not expected to solve these challenges, they are expected to begin thinking about them as problems that can be addressed, at least in part, through engineering.

Developing possible solutions for major global problems begins by breaking them down into smaller problems that can be tackled with engineering methods. To evaluate potential solutions students are expected to not only consider a wide range of criteria, but to also recognize that criteria need to be prioritized. For example, public safety or environmental protection may be more important than cost or even functionality. Decisions on priorities can then guide tradeoff choices.

Improving designs at the high school level may involve sophisticated methods, such as using computer simulations to model proposed solutions. Students are expected to use such methods to take into account a range of criteria and constraints, to try and anticipate possible societal and environmental impacts, and to test the validity of their simulations by comparison to the real world.

Connections with other science disciplines help high school students develop these capabilities in various contexts. For example, in the life sciences students are expected to design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing human impact on the environment (HS-LS2-7) and to create or revise a simulation to test solutions for mitigating adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity (HS-LS4-6). In the physical sciences students solve problems by applying their engineering capabilities along with their knowledge of conditions for chemical reactions (HS-PS1-6), forces during collisions (HS-PS2-3), and conversion of energy from one form to another (HS-PS3-3). In the Earth and space sciences students apply their engineering capabilities to reduce human impacts on Earth systems, and improve social and environmental cost-benefit ratios (HS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3- 4).

By the end of 12th grade students are expected to achieve all four HS-ETS1 performance expectations (HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3, and HS-ETS1-4) related to a single problem in order to understand the interrelated processes of engineering design. These include analyzing major global challenges, quantifying criteria and constraints for solutions; breaking down a complex problem into smaller, more manageable problems, evaluating alternative solutions based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs, and using a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions. While the performance expectations shown in High School Engineering Design couple particular practices with specific disciplinary core ideas, instructional decisions should include use of many practices that lead to the performance expectations.

 

Summary:

At the high school level students are expected to engage with major global issues at the interface of science, technology, society and the environment, and to bring to bear the kinds of analytical and strategic thinking that prior training and increased maturity make possible. As in prior levels, these capabilities can be thought of in three stages—defining the problem, developing possible solutions, and improving designs.

 

Assessment Boundary:

By the end of 12th grade students are expected to achieve all four HS-ETS1 performance expectations (HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3, and HS-ETS1-4) related to a single problem in order to understand the interrelated processes of engineering design. These include analyzing major global challenges, quantifying criteria and constraints for solutions; breaking down a complex problem into smaller, more manageable problems, evaluating alternative solutions based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs, and using a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions. While the performance expectations shown in High School Engineering Design couple particular practices with specific disciplinary core ideas, instructional decisions should include use of many practices that lead to the performance expectations.

Clarification:

Defining the problem at the high school level requires both qualitative and quantitative analysis. For example, the need to provide food and fresh water for future generations comes into sharp focus when considering the speed at which world population is growing, and conditions in countries that have experienced famine. While high school students are not expected to solve these challenges, they are expected to begin thinking about them as problems that can be addressed, at least in part, through engineering.

Developing possible solutions for major global problems begins by breaking them down into smaller problems that can be tackled with engineering methods. To evaluate potential solutions students are expected to not only consider a wide range of criteria, but to also recognize that criteria need to be prioritized. For example, public safety or environmental protection may be more important than cost or even functionality. Decisions on priorities can then guide tradeoff choices.

Improving designs at the high school level may involve sophisticated methods, such as using computer simulations to model proposed solutions. Students are expected to use such methods to take into account a range of criteria and constraints, to try and anticipate possible societal and environmental impacts, and to test the validity of their simulations by comparison to the real world.

 

Evaluate a Solution to a Real World Problem is a performance expectation related to Engineering Design HS-ETS1.

Summary:

Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

Assessment Boundary:
Clarification:

Evaluating potential solutions-In their evaluation of a complex real-world problem, students: Generate a list of three or more realistic criteria and two or more constraints, including such relevant factors as cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics that specifies an acceptable solution to a complex real-world problem; Assign priorities for each criterion and constraint that allows for a logical and systematic evaluation of alternative solution proposals; Analyze (quantitatively where appropriate) and describe* the strengths and weaknesses of the solution with respect to each criterion and constraint, as well as social and cultural acceptability and environmental impacts; Describe possible barriers to implementing each solution, such as cultural, economic, or other sources of resistance to potential solutions; and Provide an evidence-based decision of which solution is optimum, based on prioritized criteria, analysis of the strengths and weaknesses (costs and benefits) of each solution, and barriers to be overcome.

Refining and/or optimizing the design solution: In their evaluation, students describe which parts of the complex real-world problem may remain even if the proposed solution is implemented.