Friday, November 21, 2008

Nov 21st--Our First Video Conference

Today was a great day!

Four of our classes had the opportunity to participate in an online video conference with a private school in Pennsylvania. Students in both classes had completed the International Boiling Point Project and the reason behind the conference was to discuss the shared experiences while completing the project. We used Skype to create the VC and it worked very well.

The video conference went off with only minor hitches--sound was a problem but we were able to work through it. Students from both schools were able to ask questions about the project, as well as more personal questions such as "was the school food good?", "have you seen anyone from Jon and Kate, plus eight?" to "do you like your science teacher? (I left the room for that one).

Our students were most surprised about how few students were in the other school, plus they could not comprehend not being able to wear jeans and t shirts to school. I can't answer for the other school but I believe that they could not believe how many students we had.

This was the very first video conference students at our school have ever participated and their behavior and questions were excellent. Hopefully we will be able to schedule more video conferences.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nov 19-20 The Official First Day of Chemistry

Today we finished refreshing our atoms and then started with chemical bonding.

First we completed the from glue to goop activity (page 2 in the textbook). We mixed watered down glue (50/50 mix of water and elmers) with a dilute borax solution (4 grams of borax to 100 mL's of water). It made a silly putty like material.

We then drew lots of Bohr models of atoms--we did hydrogen, helium, lithium, sodium, chlorine, neon and potassium.

Finally, we filled a balloon full of hydrogen gas and blew it up--and we have film to prove it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nov 17-18 Gathering Information

Today we went to either the media center or the computer lab and began working on gathering the info for our elements project. We used multiple sources (three minimum including one book source) to determine the key facts on our element. This part of the project will be due this friday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nov 13-14 Starting Chemistry

Today in class we had a whirlwind refresher on sixth grade chemistry. We touched on the parts of an atom (Protons, Neutrons and Electrons). We talked about the difference between atoms (no charge) and ions (have charges).

We then reviewed the periodic table, talked about how protons made the atom--any atom with one proton was a hydrogen atom (number 1 on the periodic table), any with 2 protons was Helium (number two on the table). We pointed out the noble gases and the halogens, or salt formers.

All this information can be found in the introduction to matter book (see my website for the online version of the book).

Finally, we discussed our elements project--We will be creating fact sheets, 3-D models and a commercial about an element. We saw sample commercials from previous classes.

This project will have three parts, and three due dates. Please see the Elements project page on my website for the specific due dates.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nov 10th and 12th--still working on the data

We spent another full day in the computer room and by now our data should be thoroughly crunched! We'll be turning in our project lab reports later this week. I've added to my homework page our class introduction letter with our original hypothesis. Please cut and paste it into your lab report.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nov 3rd and 5th--Crunching the Data

Today in class we began the analysis of the international boiling point data. This was a very intense day and the students all worked extremely hard. To get a better idea of what was done, head back to my website and look at the homework post for October 29th. This will give you the basic idea of what type of analysis we did.

You may download the project data from my homework page--you may also look at two mini movies that show how to use excel to analyze the data.

Oct 31st, Halloween

Today we did a C day and presented our concept maps--I have to admit, watching students in costume present concept maps was a lot of fun--imagine someone dressed as a chicken explaining wave interactions...