Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 8 - Rethinking Ionic Compounds & Taking a Field Trip

I have been teaching SNC 1D for a number of years now. It is a course that we have developed fairly well and then it took a back burner for me for awhile while I was focusing on my teaching style and some new courses I was teaching. We have taken a skills-based approach to this course (lab, lab writing, research & organization, mind mapping) and sometimes that has meant that I do not rethink how I am teaching concepts.

This time around it dawned on me that I was doing students a disservice with the way I was teaching ionic compounds. I was already putting a focus on the octet rule and using Bohr-Rutherford diagrams to see patterns in the electrons on the periodic table, but I was making the mistake of using the "criss-cross rule" which I realized was not teaching them anything...they were memorizing not understanding.

This time around I tried to make use of the compound modelling they did to make connections to everything else. I put one of the wooden spheres under the doc cam and compared it to an element that it might represent by drawing its BR diagram and discussing the idea of each "hole" in the sphere and needed/extra electron as shown in the BR diagram and the ion values they could figure out from the BR diagrams an the patterns in the periodic table (group numbers).

I then showed them that when we make compounds the charges have to balance in order for all of those bonds to be satisfied, thus giving us a stable molecule, by using ion notation and adding ions until a balance was achieved. It took some of my students a couple of times of seeing this before is started to sink in, but I believe that more of them actually understood the concept in the end as opposed to having memorized some rule. Hopefully it will benefit them more as they move into Grade 10 science and Grade 11 chemistry.

My colleague and I also got to take our Grade 9s on a field trip this week to introduce the Biology (Ecosystems) unit. The Credit Valley Conservation crew showed our students how to plant trees and exposed them to invasive species in their own neighbourhood. This will make a great connection for us when we introduce their research project that requires them to figure out how an ecosystem will be effected by a specific invasive/endangered species and how that connects to human interactions with that ecosystem. One of the conservation workers had come into our classes the week before to introduce what they do and how we impact our local ecosystems. Some of my students had done a similar trip with their Geography class earlier in the semester, and they still enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it :)

No comments:

Post a Comment