Session 5 at a Glance

This 3 hour session continues to build a collaborative learning community and deepen understanding of students’ chemical thinking by comparing different teaching moves and how these moves promote the development of sense-making with chemistry concepts. The session begins with  teachers reviewing classroom videos that were submitted for homework from a past ACCT cohort. Teachers bring three copies of de-identified student work samples from a recent formative assessment. Using a looking at student work protocol small groups of teachers look for evidence of chemical thinking and note what ideas are revealed and generated in the student’s written work. The small group discussions align with the overarching goal of increasing capacity for interpreting the assumptions about chemistry underlying student ideas based on written work samples that are reviewed.

Session objectives:

In session 5 teachers will:

  • Strengthen the ability to plan for learning about student’s chemical thinking using formative assessments that elicit students’ ideas, particularly focusing on the nature of questions.
  • Increase ability to notice how students use chemistry knowledge to make sense of problems that chemistry allows us to address.
  • Deepen capacity to interpret the assumptions about chemistry underlying the ideas students express in discussion and written work, particularly focusing on the conceptual sophistication of the underlying assumptions.
  • Compare and contrast different teaching moves for advancing students’ chemical thinking and how those moves promote the development of sense making by students.

Participant agenda:

  1. Whole group: Welcome & Connecting activity
  2. Whole group:  Review two videos noticing and interpreting students chemical thinking ideas
  3. Small group: Analyze de-identified student work from formative assessments that were collected from participants' classrooms.
  4. Wrap up & Homework


Full Download (zipped folder)

Videos of student discussions

Video 1 of student discussion

Students discussing Koolaid formative assessment.


Session 5 - Student Discourse Video 2



ACCT Program Components focused on in this session

***Chemical Thinking strand will vary depending on the formative assessment that teachers have given and the student work they will examine in the session***


Formative Assessment Enactment Model: Noticing and Interpreting


Teacher Dilemmas: Pedagogical 

Tips for the facilitator

A major focus of this session is to expand teachers’ repertoires of noticing and interpreting to go beyond evaluation of correct/incorrect or spotting misconceptions. When teachers only describe or rephrase what students say, try to press them to speculate on what could be underneath the student’s thinking that could explain why the student is writing that response.

Guide teachers to practice looking for productive ways students are doing structure-property relationships thinking, which is present in a lot of student thinking in chemistry. There is explanatory power in reasoning how arrangements of particles and processes that we model as occurring at a submicroscopic scale can give rise to properties that we can observe at the laboratory or daily life scale.