Inquiry In Action: Molecular Model Kits For Hands-On Science
My students need molecular model kits to engage in inquiry as they construct molecules to determine why carbon is considered the "backbone of life" and discover what happens to atoms during chemical reactions.
It's often said that as we grow older we begin to get less curious. My students defy this. As the school year goes on, they get more curious as they make connections between concepts and start looking at the world in new ways.
My students are curious and creative problem solvers who make insightful observations as they engage with and learn from each other.
I teach at a Title I school with a diverse population of students who show me every day that, if given the chance, they will rise to the occasion.
It happens every year without fail the first week of school. A student tells me, "Ms.Holland, I'm just not good at science." As a middle school science teacher, half the battle is getting students to believe they can be successful in science.
Providing students with hands-on science experiences doesn't just engage them more, it also builds their confidence in their science abilities because it helps them understand abstract concepts and allows them to be successful.
Having molecular model kits in our classroom will provide students with concrete experiences when it comes to studying atoms and molecules which are too small for us to observe.
In addition, molecular model kits will allow students to not simply be told information, but to discover it themselves. By creating molecules with carbon atoms and other elements, students will realize that we call carbon the "backbone of life" because a single atom is so versatile- it can form four bonds- allowing for large complex molecules to be built. Students will also be able to use our kits to model what happens to molecules during chemical reactions. The act of breaking molecules apart and rearranging the atoms to form new molecules will help students internalize important physical science concepts such as conservation of mass, which is often hard for students to understated given it's conceptual nature.
Having molecular model kits will give students a chance to explore, pose questions, and engage in scientific discourse with their peers as they share their thoughts and build their understanding. In short, these kits will allow my students to act as scientists in our classroom as they engage in hands-on explorations that will set the foundation for future science learning.
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