In order to incorporate the Patterns in Nature materials into our General Chemistry curricula this year, we wanted to explore the logical placement of the materials, activities and simulations into those curricula. We also wanted to place activities into an order that would promote the ideas of cognitive apprenticeship. In particular, the ideas of modeling, coaching, fading, scaffolding, articulation, reflection and exploration.
An outline of topics for a general course in Chemistry was developed using a variety of textbooks and teacher input. Institute personnel and participants were interviewed for opinions on topic placement. Objectives that reflect the tenets of cognitive apprenticeship were developed and ordered to support the sequencing advocated by this teaching method.
Physical - Chemical changes
Key chain activity - observation/prediction
Objective: Demonstrate an introduction to fractals
Objective: making predictions
Measurements (density, SI unit, SIG Figs)
Coastline - intro to fractals
Objective: different ways of measuring
Objective: Compare accuracy. precision
Discovery and Evidence
Objective: Detect trends in statistics
Objective: Develop proficiency in simulation software Winning Streak?, Random Walk
Objective: Correlate simulations and models
Atomic and mass numbers, Isotopes
Bohr - Electron Configurations
Objective: Simulate ground state minimum energies
History and development
Objective: Increase Complexity by showing 2 dimensional walks (Many Walkers, Anthill, Deer)
Ionic - Covalent Bonding
Objective: Establish the need for optimum conditions for bonding
Spin glasses Neural networks
Objective: Increased complexity in optimum bonding conditions
Fractal Patterns: Branching structures
Objective: Observe and explain the patterns of crystal growth using fractal dimension tools
Objective: Compare rapid vs. slow crystal growth (ECD)
Objective: Predicting reaction results (Liesegang Rings)
Limiting Reactants and Percent yield
Oozing and Growing: Percolation
Objectives: Graphically simulating the effect of limiting reactants Software Deer
Objective: Visually demonstrating the effect of limiting reactants Software Blaze
Objective: Predict and articulate the connections between the software and chemical processes
Objective: Predict the effects of interactions between liquids(Hele-Shaw)
Objective: Interpret results using Fractal Dimension
Objective: Student research project
Objective : to simulate granular flow
Objectives: Investigate the relationship between random acts and predictable out comes.
Concentrations and Solubility
Objective: Have students use Deer program to predict a stable chemical system.
Objective: Investigate saturated, unsaturated and supersaturated conditions using Deer program.
objective: rationalize the similarities of the graphs from Forest and a Titration curve
Objective: examine critical probability and relate to pH transition point.
Branching Structures (ECD)
Objective: Develop independent research projects
Literature and DNA
objective: Discover how a computer program can emulate real life
Self Organized Criticality
Objective: Students will exhibit independent use of the software to model chemical concepts. (Sand Pile)
Objective: Students will compare performance to expert's theories
There are many topics in a general Chemistry course where we could implement the Patterns in Nature activities. The open-ended nature of the activities lend themselves to many interpretations and higher order learning opportunities. The activities also are an excellent format for the methods of cognitive apprenticeship.