From: Nina Vehslage (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jan 27 2003 - 13:17:20 EST
Students at my school are juniors and seniors when they take chemistry and we only offer one year. Since this is a one shot deal for them on chemistry I try to balance take home projects with class work that uses Chem ASAP computer disk with my Addison Wesley Book and General Chemistry CD from journal of chem ed. I also have the Active Chem CD but find it takes a lot of time to get students up and running on this.
I spend a lot of time with the students on understanding how the periodic table is their friend and it is like a book once they learn how to read it. Sometimes I do an "Adopt An Element" project where each is given an element and they have to "sell it" (give an oral report) to the rest of us as being the best element in the periodic table. They must include its family properties, valence, everyday uses and so forth. They also must build a model of a crystal of their element out of styrofoam balls and the best models are left to hang up around my room. Before computers, they had to make a poster of their element and we hung them around the room. This is still a great project as students spend a lot of time looking at the posters hung around the room.
Sometimes we do a 6 slide powerpoint electronic paper that must include discoverer, special chemical and physical properties, important compounds of the element and their uses, how it is recovered from nature and where is it found, and a bibliography with a miniumum of 3 internet sites and 3 books.The internet sites are written as links in the powerpoint so I can just click on them and go to the pages the student gets the info from.This project is given to them in the form of "The local library has asked us to set up a powerpoint show for the general public on the elements and has asked you to help them gather material about the elements that the general public can understand."
We also play element and ion bingo which never ceases to amaze me the first time as the students are generally clueless about where to find the elements on the periodic table.
I have done the balloons with the students which is good as they can see that the balloons have to assume a certain relationship as you hold them. I also have large models of s and p orbitals that must be 40 years old and don't know if you can even buy them any more. To start students thinking about 3 dimensions of space I ask them to draw 4 points on their paper and make them as far apart from each other as possible. Most do a north,south,east,west drawing and then I bring out the molecular model building set and build the tetrahedral shape to bring the 3rd dimension to life.
During nuclear chemistry unit I do the biography of scientists that developed atomic theory and then those that are related to nuclear energy. To keep students from just copying words off the internet I make the report be an"Interview the Scientist" report where they have to ask the who what when and where questions about the life of that scientist. My rubric includes creativity points, points for pictures and illustrations of famous discoveries of the scientist. Students like the opportunity to be creative and to not make this just another report. Some are in the form of headline news reports or some are reports from the grave.
We do periodic trends of the periodic table. In the essence of time I use the LCD projector hooked up to my computer and we graph the trends together as a class of atomic and ionic sizes, first and second ionization energy. and electronegativity. The students have to write essays questions explaining the trends. This is really hard for them. They would rather I just let them choose which atom is bigger or smaller than having to explain their answer. We are going to CORE 40 testing in a couple of years where they have to write essays so this is a good place to practice.
I do not have the wooden marble boards but they seem to work for the teachers that have them. We do have valence cards but seldom use them because of time restraints of a trimester schedule to fit all the science standards into the curriculum.