A Journey Through Technology

Week 4: What project could help me integrate my content with making?

on June 9, 2017

This weeks question is something I have been thinking about since this class started. How can I integrate making in a chemistry class? What kind of project can I design for my students to demonstrate learning not only in chemistry, but also using making skills? According to Martinez & Stager (2013), there are eight elements of a good project: purpose and relevance, time, complexity, intensity, connection, access, shareability, and novelty. I will need to consider each of these as I work on designing my project.

One of the goals of making is to help students better understand the content. “We all construct our own meaning of the world around us; Making just gives us a context to construct our understanding in. It engages students’ hands in the work of their minds in order to help them construct deep conceptual understandings.” (Vanderwerff, 2014) My project needs to help students construct deeper understandings of chemistry concepts, and possibly other contents as well.

One possible first step in designing my project would be to contact chemistry industry professionals to help identify an authentic problem to solve. (ConnectEd, 2010, p.9) When I read this, I also thought about a textbook I have at school that I’ve looked at a few times called Living by Chemistry  by Angelica M. Stacy et al. This book takes the high school chemistry curriculum and divides it into units based on real-world problems. I think I could look at these problems to also help me develop a good project.

“The project should be the basic unit of learning.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle Location 1490) Over the past year, I have learned quite a bit about project- or problem-based learning, and this could be a good opportunity to start implementing that in my classroom. Right now, I see my project as something beyond a chemistry lab, though a lab could be involved in the project, to help students solve a real-world problem. The project would be rather open-ended, not directing them too much, and also challenging. The project will most likely last for at least a quarter, giving students an opportunity to connect concepts within the curriculum. To start, the project will probably only deal with chemistry, but it would be nice to eventually work with other departments to develop more of an interdisciplinary project. Making could be involved in any part of the project, thought I still don’t really know what that would look like in chemistry.

This is just the beginning ideas for how my project will look, and I’m sure this will change as the project evolves. I hope to make my chemistry class more of a project-based class in the future and I think this will be a great starting place for that.

References

ConnectEd. (2010). Designing Multidisciplinary Integrated Curriculum Units. The California Center for College and Career. Retreived 8 June 2017, from http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/downloads/LL_Designing_Curriculum_Units_2010_v5_web.pdf

Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, And Engineering In The Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

Stacy, A., Coonrod, J., & Claesgens, J. (2015). Living by chemistry (2nd ed.). W.H. Freeman.

Vanderwerff, A. (2014). Makers in the Classroom: A How-To Guide – EdSurge News. EdSurge. Retrieved 8 June 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-05-14-makers-in-the-classroom-a-how-to-guide

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3 responses to “Week 4: What project could help me integrate my content with making?

  1. waclawskid says:

    I would think coming up with a chemistry project would be a little more difficult. The prompts would also seem more difficult. Have you thought of any draft prompts. I wonder what prior knowledge would be need. Of course, I am thinking at the high school level.

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  2. Mariah Smith says:

    Great start and thank you for walking us through your thought process of coming up with a potential prompt. Do you have any local chemists that can help support you and your students when you do get a prompt for students? I like how you say that the project itself is not necessarily the lab work but you might need the chemistry lab to solve the problem or make something.

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  3. matical4263 says:

    I like your thinking. Why not include things outside of chemistry? Why not soil samples if you are discussing pH and stuff like that? Why not freezing water samples if you are looking at the properties of molecules and how bonds are formed? I don’t know, I am not a chemist. But, why not geometry when looking at atoms or molecules?

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