Goals - This explanation introduces teachers to the strands. Instructionally, these concepts should be woven through the content goals and objectives of the course. Supplemental materials providing a more detailed explanation of the goals, objectives, and strands, with specific recommendations for classroom and/or laboratory implementation are available through the Department of Public Instruction’s Publications Section.
Nature of Science - This strand is designed to help students understand the human dimensions of science, the nature of scientific thought, and the role of science in society. Chemistry is particularly rich in examples of science as a human endeavor, its historical perspectives, and the development of scientific knowledge.
Science as a Human Endeavor - Intellectual honesty and an ethical tradition are hallmarks of the practice of science. The practice is rooted in accurate data reporting, peer review, and making findings public. This aspect of the nature of science can be implemented by designing instruction that encourages students to work in groups, design investigations, formulate hypothesis, collect data, reach conclusions, and present their findings to their classmates.
The content studied in chemistry provides an opportunity to present science as the basis for engineering, ecology, computer science, health sciences and the technical trades. The diversity of chemistry content allows for looking at science as a vocation. Scientist, artist, and technician are just a few of the many careers in which a chemistry background is necessary.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this strand is that science is an integral part of society and is therefore relevant to students’ lives.
Historical Perspectives - Most scientific knowledge and technological advances develop incrementally from the labors of scientists and inventors. Although science history includes accounts of serendipitous scientific discoveries, most development of scientific concepts and technological innovation occurs in response to a specific problem or conflict. Both great advances and gradual knowledge building in science and technology have profound effects on society. Students should appreciate the scientific thought and effort of the individuals who contributed to these advances.
The philosophical perspective of Democritus (who produced no experimental evidence) to the genius of Dalton’s inferences from his observation of gases, a historical view, makes chemistry come alive. In other examples, the history of Aristotle’s philosophy of matter, and of Dalton’s and Bohr’s models of atomic theory, emphasize the value of a scientific model in enabling researchers to explore an unseen entity by starting with certain assumptions posited by the model.
Nature of Scientific Knowledge - Much of what is understood about the nature of science
must be explicitly addressed.
Science as Inquiry - Inquiry should be the central theme in chemistry. It is an integral part of the learning experience and may be used in both traditional class problems and laboratory work. Because of the unique safety issues that arise in the chemistry lab, students must be given well-supervised experience in basic laboratory techniques, including safe use of materials and equipment. However, the essence of the inquiry process is to ask questions that stimulate students to think critically and to formulate their own questions. Observing, classifying, using numbers, plotting graphs, measuring, inferring, predicting, formulating models, interpreting data, hypothesizing, and experimenting help students build knowledge and communicate what they have learned.
Inquiry applies creative thinking to new and unfamiliar situations. Students should learn to design solutions to problems that interest them. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways, but situations that present a discrepant event or ones that challenge students’ intuition have been successful. Classical experiments confirming well-accepted scientific principles may be necessary to reinforce constructed understandings and to teach safe and proper use of laboratory techniques and instruments, but they should not be the whole laboratory experience. Instead, laboratory experience should be a foundation for exploring new questions. Experiments such as measurement of physical properties, decomposition of compounds, and observation of the behavior of gases should be preliminary to open-ended investigations in which students are charged with posing questions, designing experiments, recording and displaying data, and communicating. For example, after measuring physical properties, students might investigate the relationship between the density of certain liquids and their boiling points. Although original research by students traditionally has been relegated to a yearly science fair project, ongoing student involvement in this process contributes to their understanding of scientific enterprise and to their problem-solving abilities.
Science and Technology - It is impossible to learn science without developing some appreciation of technology. Therefore, this strand has a dual purpose: (a) developing students’ knowledge and skills in technological design, and (b) enhancing their understanding of science and technology.
The methods of scientific inquiry and technological design share many common elements - objectivity, clear definition of the problem, identification of goals, careful collection of observations and data, data analysis, replication of results, and peer review. Technological design differs from inquiry in that it must operate within the limitations of materials, scientific laws, economics, and the demands of society. Together, science and technology present many solutions to problems of survival and enhance the quality of life.
Technological design plays an important role in building chemistry knowledge. For example, electron microscopes, super-colliders, personal computers, and spectroscopes have changed our lives, increased our knowledge of chemistry, and improved our understanding of the universe.
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives - This strand is designed to help students formulate basic understandings and implied actions for many current issues facing our society. The fundamental concepts that form the basis for this strand include:
Environmental Quality - Studies indicate that the general public associates "chemicals" with materials that may harm humans and/or the environment. For that reason, it is particularly important to lead students to approach such issues scientifically. There are, obviously, both negative and positive impacts from man-made chemicals, and students can gain much from conducting cost/benefit analyses of selected uses. Such tasks emphasize the use of evidence in decision-making, a skill that transfers to every aspect of students’ lives.
There are many available resources that promote one point of view or another about the use of chemicals. Having students analyze such materials for accuracy, possible bias, and misleading statements equip them to make decisions as consumers and voters. Scientists from local industries or colleges and universities can provide excellent help in evaluating such publications and, at the same time, provide information about careers in chemistry.
Science and Technology in Local, National, andGlobal Challenges - This strand examines the involvement of human decisions in the application of scientific and technological knowledge "Understanding basic concepts and principles of science and technology should precede active debate about the economics, policies, politics, and ethics of various science and technology-related challenges. However, understanding science alone will not resolve local, national, or global challenges. Students should understand the appropriateness and value of basic questions ‘What can happen?’ - ‘What are the Odds?’- and, ‘How do scientists and engineers know what will happen?’ " (1995, National Science Education Standards)
Students should understand the causes and extent of science-related challenges. They should become familiar with the advances and improvements that proper application of scientific principles and products have brought to environmental enhancement, wise energy use, reduced vehicle emissions, and improved human health.
The relationship between science and technology is easily seen in the discipline of chemistry. As students explore chemistry from a historical perspective, they can easily investigate the technology that contributed to knowledge in specialized areas. A relevant assignment might ask students to identify the technology used by researchers in exploring the atom and the relationships of the technology to the sophistication of the knowledge gained. Another assignment might be for students to compare the relative simplicity of Rutherford’s gold foil apparatus to the space-age technology of modern super-colliders. Interviews with scientists and technicians in all areas of chemistry could provide a rich listing of the newest research instruments and the kinds of questions they seek to answer.
Chemistry - Grades 9 -12
The chemistry course encourages students to continue their investigation of the structure of matter along with chemical reactions and the conservation of energy in these reactions. Inquiry is applied to the study of the transformation, composition, structure, and properties of substances. The course focuses on basic chemical concepts and incorporates activities that promote investigations to reinforce the concepts.
The curriculum includes inquiry into the following content areas:
Strands: The strands are: Nature of Science, Science as Inquiry, Science and Technology, Science in Personal and Social Perspectives. They provide the context for teaching of the content Goals and Objectives.
COMPETENCY GOAL 1: The learner will build an understanding of the structure and properties of matter.
1.01 Summarize the development of current atomic theory.
1.02 Examine the nature of atomic structure:
1.06 Analyze the basic assumptions of kinetic molecular theory and its applications:
3.01 Observe and interpret changes (emission/absorption) in electron energies in the hydrogen atom including the quantized levels and their relationship to atomic spectra:
3.03 Compare and contrast the nature of heat and temperature.
3.04 Analyze calorimetric measurement in simple systems and the energy involved in changes in state.
3.05 Analyze the relationship between energy transfer and disorder in the universe:
4.03 Assess reaction rates and factors that affect reaction rates.
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