Gizmos Part II: Chemical Reactions

Gizmos Logo

Last month, I shared about a new PD opportunity I had the privilege of participating in called Gizmos. You can read about it here. After Thanksgiving break, my Chemistry 1 and Honors Chemistry 1 classes began our Chemical Reactions unit. In previous semesters, my unit plan looked like the following:

 

Day 1: Vocabulary Self-Assessment, Terms, Atom Counting

Day 2-3: Balancing Equations

Day 4: Reaction Types video (with demos) and notes, HW: Balancing practice

Day 5: Balancing Quiz, Demos, HW: Balancing and reaction type practice

Day 6: Honors: Activity Series (SR) and Solubility (DR), HW: Predict products, ID types

Regular: Energy in reactions (Endothermic vs exothermic)

Day 7: Honors: Lab - Relative Reactivities of Metals, HW: Lab Report

Regular: Lab - Endo vs Exo, HW: Lab questions

Day 8: Honors: Energy in reactions (Endothermic vs exothermic), HW: Review assignment

Regular: Review assignment in class

Day 9: Review in class

Day 10: Unit Test

Thanks to Gizmos, I decided to revamp the order of my unit to the following:

 

 

Chemistry 1

Honors Chemistry 1

M 11/28 - Chemical Rxns Intro via Vocabulary Self-Awareness + Atom Counting, HW: Atom Counting (top)

T 11/29 - Rxn Types video + notes

W 11/30 - Provide additional demos, Energy in reactions, Hydrogen Cells → Environment

12/1 - Lab: Endo vs Exo, HW: Lab Questions

F 12/2 - GIZMOS: Balancing Chemical Equations - Warm up + Activity A

 

M 12/5 - GIZMOS: Balance Chemical Equations - Activity B + Practice

T 12/6 - Formative assessment (assessment questions on GIZMOS) + go over homework

W 12/7 - Balancing Races, HW: Coursepack review 57-58 (#1-11)

R 12/8 - Warm up, Review Due, Optional practice, HW: Study

F 12/9 - Test: Chemical Reactions

M 11/28 - Chemical Rxns Intro via Vocabulary Self-Awareness + Atom Counting, HW: Atom Counting (top)

T 11/29 - Rxn Types video + notes

W 11/30 - Provide additional demos, Single and Double Replacement video, HW: Predicting products

R 12/1 - Lab: Relative Reactivities of Metals, HW: Lab Report

F 12/2 - Check W hw (video key), Energy in reactions, Work on Lab Report (video) and/or predicting products hw

 

M 12/5 - Check hw, GIZMOS: Balance Chemical Equations - Warm Up + Activity A

T 12/6 - GIZMOS: Balance Chemical Equations - Activity B + Practice

W 12/7 - Formative assessment (assessment questions on GIZMOS), Balancing Races, HW: Coursepack review 57-58 (#1-13)

R 12/8 - Warm up, Review Due, Optional practice, HW: Study

F 12/9 - Test: Chemical Reactions

My hope was that by altering the flow of the unit, students would benefit tremendously. I was hoping that by pushing the more difficult component of the unit (balancing) to the end, students would not be discouraged. I hoped they would have confidence going into that topic.

Students demonstrated mastery over atom counting (using subscripts and coefficients) and identifying reaction types. Then we jumped into the Gizmos for “Balancing Chemical Equations.” After 2 days, each class took a 5 question formative assessment on the Gizmos website. About 3 questions were balancing related and the other 2 dealt with identifying reaction types. My regular classes saw a 59% and 68.2% average scores, while my Honors classes saw 86.2% and 85% average scores. The lower average in my regular class was troubling; I was sure to include additional practice and resources for those students going into the test and made myself available for help. Unfortunately, many of the students chose not to take advantage of my availability or the provided resources. After I graded the unit tests, I noticed a similar result on the balancing section. Many students did not perform well. So, what does any good teacher do? I went over the test the next week, provided additional practice materials, reviewed the balancing concept, and re-assessed students this week. My hope here was to give students an opportunity to redeem themselves, demonstrate proficiency, and pad their assessment grade category a little bit. I do NOT offer extra credit in class but I wanted to help these students the best way I know how.

Fast forward to the next unit: Physical Properties and Change. I was planning to wrap up this unit within 10 days before our winter break. However, 2 snow days changed those plans. Students will be assessed through current content before break and we will tackle Phase Changes and Phase Diagrams in December, using one of the Gizmo activities available for this topic.

At this point, I do not believe I have sufficient data to determine the success or failure of the Gizmo activity or revamping my Chemical Reactions unit. I’ll try again next semester.