Essential Science for Teachers: Physical Science
Extending the Particle Model of Matter Interactive Activity: 5-Question Survey
5-Question Survey: Reviewing the Previous Sessions
The series of questions presented in this activity will help you find out your ideas or your students’ ideas about matter. As highlighted in this video series, when we articulate our misconceptions, we are taking the first step to rectifying them.
Surveying is one of many educational strategies that teachers can use to elicit ideas. Even a brief survey, such as the one presented next, can provide a learning opportunity for students and teachers alike. Students can reveal their misconceptions for the first time as well as open their minds to accepting scientific points of view. Teachers can form a basis for making instructional decisions, whether to validate students’ correct yet unsure ideas, confront student misconceptions, reinforce ideas that are forming, or complement ideas that are accurate but only partial explanations.
Before you complete the survey, please identify who you are (pick just one):
The answer is B: The particles of sugar spread out in the water. Dissolving is a physical change, meaning that the particles are merely rearranged, and not changed into a new substance, or torn apart. The particles spread out into the water, but are not classified as a liquid because they are no longer directly touching each other.
The answer is D: True. Diamond and graphite look different only because their basic material is arranged differently. Both graphite and diamond are a form of the element carbon although their macroscopic properties are different due to the differing arrangement of particles. The forces between particles are the same, but the assembly of graphite and diamond from carbon takes place under different conditions of temperature and pressure, leading to different macroscopic properties.
The answer is D: all loaves but the top one are squished, the bottom loaf the most. Each loaf of bread feels the weight of all the loaves above it. The top loaf does not feel any force from above, the middle loaf bears the weight of two loaves and the bottom loaf bears the weight of four loaves. Thus, the “squished-ness” increases as you go to the bottom of the stack. You may recall from Session 5 that pressure in a liquid increases with depth: a liquid at a given depth feels the weight of all the particles of liquid above it.
The answer is C: Water vapor condenses from the air on the outside of the glass. Although some water does evaporate from the glass, the water vapor in the air is the only water that gets really close to the outside surface of the glass. The fast moving water molecules in the water vapor collide with the slower moving molecules of the surface of the glass and transfer some of their energy of motion. These now slowed-down water molecules stay behind, and the forces between them are strong enough to pull and hold them together. The macroscopic result is the condensation of water on the outside of the glass.
The answer is C: The test chamber will stay exactly the same weight. While the smoke is a new, irreversible product of the combustion of the wicks of the candles, because of the principle of conservation of matter, no mass is lost or gained in the chamber.
Session 1 What Is Matter?: Properties and Classification of Matter
What is matter? This question at first seems deceptively simple — matter is all around us. Yet how do we define it? What does a block of cheese have in common with the Moon? What are the characteristics of matter that set it apart from something that is definitely not matter? Matter is one of the big ideas in science. Most areas in physical science can be discussed and explained in terms of matter or energy, and matter is a subject that naturally bridges to the other sciences (chemistry, life, earth science, etc.). In this session, we’ll build a working definition of matter, learn to distinguish between its “accidental” and “essential” properties, and explore it through classification, an activity with a rich history in science.
Session 2 The Particle Nature of Matter: Solids, Liquids, and Gases
What simple idea links together all of chemistry and physics? How can a close study of the macroscopic differences among solids, liquids, and gases support a microscopic model of tiny, discrete, and constantly moving particles? In this session, participants learn how the "particle model" can be turned into a powerful tool for generating predictions about the behavior of matter under a wide range of conditions.
Session 3 Physical Changes and Conservation of Matter
What happens when sugar is dissolved in a glass of water or when a pot of water on the stove boils away? Do things ever really "disappear?" In everyday life, observations that things "disappear" or "appear" seem to contradict one of the fundamental laws of nature: matter can be neither created nor destroyed. In this session, participants learn how the principles of the particle model are consistent with conservation of matter.
Session 4 Chemical Changes and Conservation of Matter
How can the particle model account for what happens when two clear liquids are mixed together and they produce a milky-white solid? What happens when iron rusts? Where do the elements come from? In this session, participants extend the particle model by looking inside the particles, learn about some early chemical pioneers, and in the process discover how the law of conservation of matter applies even at the scale of atoms and molecules.
Session 5 Density and Pressure
What makes a block of wood rise to the surface of a bucket of water? Why do your ears pop when you swim deep underwater? In this session, participants examine density, an essential property of matter. They also look at how particles of matter are in constant motion, which leads to a deeper understanding of fluid pressure. Lastly, the concepts of pressure and density are investigated to explain the macroscopic phenomenon of rising and sinking.
Session 6 Rising and Sinking
Why does a hot air balloon rise into the sky? Why does ice rise in water, when a lump of solid wax will sink in a jar full of molten wax? In this session, participants generalize the model that has been developed about what rises and what sinks, using the idea of balance of forces.
Session 7 Heat and Temperature
What makes the liquid in a thermometer rise or fall in response to temperature? Which contains more heat — a boiling teakettle on the stove or a swimming pool of lukewarm water? In this session, participants focus on the difference between heat and temperature, and examine how both are defined in terms of particles. The particle model is then used to explain a number of everyday phenomena, from why things expand when they are heated to the role that temperature plays in changes of state.
Sessions 8 Extending the Particle Model of Matter
In this session, participants extend their understanding of the particle model to explain additional macroscopic phenomena, including the electrical properties of matter. Participants review the progression of ideas covered in the course and anticipate future developments in the understanding of matter.