Carbon Chemistry(CC), an 8th grade Physical Science unit Sharon Stevens Sinclair Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School 1290 Ivey Ranch Road Oceanside, Ca 92057
Carbon Chemistry: Background Info Web site:http://ctap295.ctaponline.org/~ssinclai/ This two-week lesson was the final unit in the chemistry curriculum in 8th grade physical science. It was implemented in Spring 2001. Over 160 students participated in all activities. Results were analyzed for 36 students from 2 periods. Sharon Stevens Sinclair email@example.com Martin Luther King, Jr. MS (760) 967-1122
CC: Student Expectations This internet based lesson addresses the uniqueness of the element carbon. Students worked in small groups, pairs and individually while completing the different activities. It was expected by the end of the unit all students would know: • Carbon with its four valence electrons has the ability to form 4 bonds. • All living things are based on carbon. • Carbon bonds most frequently with hydrogen and oxygen. • The study of carbon is known as organic chemistry.
CC: Actual Learning • The internet activity, Carbon is 4 ever, took twice as long, due to slow computers, so I had to reconfigure the groups and use the 4 faster IMACs. It took 2 days to complete this activity. • The carbon model activity went very well, since students had built molecular models twice in previous chemistry lessons. • Most students were motivated to complete the different and varied activities. • Many types of learning modalities and styles were addressed through the variety of activities.
CC: Successes & Shortcomings • This was the second web-based lesson I had developed, consequently the implementation was much easier. • The different activities (note-taking, model building, interactive web lesson, polymer investigation, information poster) blended well to meet the science content standards. • Most students appeared to be engaged throughout the two week lesson implementation. • I encountered no instructional or content related problems. The only issues were technical ones, which were addressed immediately, and added one day to the lesson sequence.
CC Data Analysis • 18 multiple choice pre and post tests taken by approximately 160 students. • All students participated in six activities during carbon chemistry unit. • Not all students completed the six activities. • Data for approximately 24% or 36 students was analyzed.
CC Data Analysis • Students showed an average increase of 4.3 points • The Pre-test range was 2 – 15. Average score 7.1 • Post-test range was 6 – 16.Average score 11.3
CC Data Analysis • A positive correlation appears between the number of completed activities and post-test scores. There was only 1 outlier or inconsistency. • The more activities a student finished, the higher their achievement.
CC Data Analysis • Pretest scores for girls were lower than boys by almost 1 point, 6.79 Vs. 7.64. • Post test scores were equal, 11.33 Vs. 11.36.
CC Reflections • Most difficulties were technical in nature, related to the computer lab and old, archaic equipment. These should improve over time as computer equipment is upgraded. • Student engagement was high, since there was a wide range of activities (lab, models, internet web sites, note-taking, poster). • Motivation is still a factor with middle school students, especially in low achievers. They did not complete the activities, and subsequently had low scores on pre & post tests.
CC Revisions • No changes to activities. • Anticipate technical problems, checkout equipment. • Possibly build in incentives to encourage low achievers to finish activities.
CC Conclusion • I had very few problems implementing this internet-based lesson, since I have had prior experience with similar projects in Astronomy and Matter. • Multi-dimensional web-based lessons are both engaging and motivating to most students. • I plan to create more lessons like these to complement the middle school science curriculum. • Unfortunately, this is extremely time-consuming project, and must be developed during summer workshops or curriculum writing sessions.