Session S63b (Wednesday, 2pm, Wartik 107)

P805: Is there a smallest piece of matter or can we keep dividing infinitely? A 5E learning cycle about atomic theory

Dave Jones (Big Sky High School, USA), Mark Cracolice (University of Montana, USA)

In high school chemistry students have very little understanding of the evidence that supports the existence of atoms. Developed by the Montana Partners, a unique inquiry-based unit focused on improving students’ depth of understanding of atomic theory will be presented.  The unit is designed around the BSCS 5E learning cycle. In the carefully sequenced series of activities, students collect, analyze, and use data to construct an understanding of experimental evidence that supports the atom. Embedded in the activity are several opportunities for students to model matter as either continuous or discontinuous based on the data they have collected. Two sets of data are used to evaluate the effectiveness of these activities: Pre and post test results from the Lawson Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning and student responses to post activity questioning aimed at probing their understanding of the basis for atom theory.


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