NGSS-ify Alka-Seltzer Rockets

text reads Glow and Grow w/ film canister and alkaline-seltzer

One of my students favorite inquiry labs to begin the kinetics unit is to create alka-seltzer rockets using old film canisters. Students are given a film canister, a quantity of alka seltzer of their own choosing and any materials available in the room to investigate factors that affect the rate of reaction.

Students generally choose to change the surface area of the tablet, the amount of water in the canister, the temperature of the water, other liquids besides water changes the time for the top of the canister to pop off. Some students measure how high the film canister top reaches.

For this activity students were given no procedure just a guiding question: “How does your factor affect the rate of reaction?” Students then had to create a one sentence claim, provide evidence and support it with reasoning. Students were given 80 minutes to determine what they wanted to test, do the experiment and get their CER boards ready for review. This was done with a mixed class of general and special education tenth grade students.

As opposed to a regular argumentation session, we had a glow and grow session, where students had to provide positive and negative feedback for each board. This can be done by having students walk around as groups and put a specific color post-it (usually green) for a way the group can grow, and different color post-it (typically yellow) for features of the board which were particularly well done by the group.

Below are some of the boards that were presented and their accompanying comments:

Glow and Grow Whiteboard #1

Student Glow Comments

  • Multiple trials completed
  • Easy to read
  • Clear

Student Grow Comments

  • Column unit (seconds) should be listed at the top of the data table instead of each box.
  • The reasoning is not specific to this reaction. This reasoning could apply to many reactions, be more specific information should be provided for the reaction you observed.
  • Justification of the procedure was not provided.

 

Glow and Grow Whiteboard #2

Student Glow Comments

  •  Multiple trials provided
  •  Nice use of colors to  differentiate warm and cool
  • Average of data obtained
  • Nice explanations in terms of the reaction

Student Grow Comments

  • Write seconds as (s) at the top of the data table instead of in each box.
  • Data table was slightly confusing to read.

 

Glow and Grow Whiteboard #3

Student Glow Comments

  • Nice use of colors
  • Nice explanation in terms of reaction
  • Good justification of how procedure was appropriate to test surface area 

Student Grow Comments

  • One trial is not sufficient to make any conclusion
  • Average data obtained was not calculated

 

Glow and Grow Whiteboard #4

Student Glow Comments

  • Nice explanation in terms of the reaction
  • Good justification of how procedure was appropriate to test surface area
  • Sufficient data collection

Student Grow Comments

  • Average of data obtained was not calculated
  • Tie reasoning together better than listing separate ideas
Concepts: 
Community: 

Safety

General Safety

For Laboratory Work: Please refer to the ACS .  

For Demonstrations: Please refer to the ACS Division of Chemical Education .

Other Safety resources

: Recognize hazards; Assess the risks of hazards; Minimize the risks of hazards; Prepare for emergencies

 

NGSS

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Summary:

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Assessment Boundary:
Clarification:

Engaging in argument from evidence in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about natural and designed worlds. Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science.

Summary:

Engaging in argument from evidence in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about natural and designed worlds. Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science.
Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.

Assessment Boundary:
Clarification:

Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models.

Summary:

Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models. Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly.

Assessment Boundary:
Clarification: