Gases, the New Year and Getting Brains into Gear....


What am I doing to help kids achieve?

How do I know when they are there?

What is the evidence?

  This year our school, through a uniques set of circumstances, had final exams before winter break, two weeks of break and then one week left in the semester after break before second semester officially ends. It is a weird situation. We were in the middle of gas laws and now have to pick up where we left off after the kids have not been attending school for two weeks.

  Flinn Scientific has a series of free "ChemFax" that are little experiments and ideas that are usually teacher tested. There is one particular "ChemFax" that is a nice little experiment about the . Students will be faced with a question. "What would you need to do and record to experimentally find the molar mass of a gas in this little container?" Next, they will be asked to brainstorm the ideas on a whiteboard. We will compare and examine the ideas as a class. Once we have some viable ideas, the hope is to introduce a with some leading questions. The data table is in google sheets and has the questions embedded in the boxes. Students will also be provided a hard copy so they can show their work and calculations. This next portion might be a bit much but they will also be provided with a that has a video embedded in the form. Essentially, it is a mini flipped assignment on how to run the experiment and how to collect data. The nice part about this as a teacher is that it is easy to see if students watched the video and to get an idea of where they are at. It is a quick and simle formative assessment that occurs before the lab.

  So here is the this providing too much to actually call this a type of guided inquiry experiment? Perhaps. Is it hard to come back after a break and do multi step problems after two weeks off? Absolutely. O.K. Perhaps this is not officially an inquiry experiment. But, hopefully it is something to get the kids brains going and thinking.

  This is a tough time of year. It is after winter break and before spring break. The weather in Michigan usually is less than ideal and it is extra challenging to keep kids motivated. This is when I find it is the most important to be passionate about teaching a students. Also, this provides me with an unofficial excuse to go a little crazy in the classroom with trying new ideas and experiments. Here is a New Year's toast to keeping in touch with one's own insanity. Happy New Year.

Watch the video: