Chemical kinetics is one of the five challenge areas in AP Chemistry. My students and I have been working our way through one of the teaching and learning activities called Concentration vs. Time. The graphical analysis, guided-inquiry questions, and application to past and future content are seriously challenging, and my students report higher levels of understanding than in past semesters.
A 2L soda pop bottle is filled about one-third full with either liquid nitrogen or solid carbon dioxide (dry ice) and water. The bottle is sealed and a plastic bucket is placed on top. Do you think the liquid nitrogen or dry ice and water will make the bucket go higher? Can you explain the results using chemistry?
This is a program that has an electronic copy of the map for all teachers to see. The entire map is tied to standards that are a version of state, federal and or local standards. Any formative assessment can easily be graded and tied to a standard. The data can be used to break down how the kids are doing in any one standard and plan future lessons accordingly. If we need to change to meet the needs of our students, we can and should immediately. It is not perfect but is trying to maximize data collection and analysis to help teachers and students.
Show the kids an event. Have them develop a model. Have each kid draw and write about the model and force them to ask themselves if this model can explain the event. As a teacher, first say something nice about it and then look for their misconceptions and use this as a formative assessment. Combine the individual models with others. Slowly build a larger model and constantly ask if this really explains the event.
I taught my students how to use the method of initial rates. I taught my students rate laws. However, they strugged to differentiate when to use what method. Upon further probing, they struggled to articulate why one might use one method over the other. They could parrot back some ideas ("The rate law tells you about the particles involved in the rate determining step of the reaction."), but I wasn't convinced of mastery and connections.
This is the first isotope activity I have tried where the students can look inside the model that resembled the atom and find information that reinforced what an isotope actually is. Furthermore, the quantitative data forced them to examine beliefs about different types of averages and what the numbers really mean.
You probably know what happens when you place dry ice in water. Do you know what happens when dry ice is placed in acetone or glycerin? Read this and find out!
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.