Designing Learning Environments to Support Molecular-Level Sensemaking
Our team of teachers and researchers is working to create a system of curricular materials that support students in relating atomic/molecular behavior to aspects of the world around them. This work is driven by the need to realize the ambitious vision of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in the context of chemistry, and by the desire for all students to appreciate the tremendous power of particulate models of matter to explain aspects of everyday existence. Past work has shown that students need significant and explicit support in connecting the behavior of invisible (to the naked eye) particles governed by the principles of quantum mechanics to the lived world of their experience. The learning environments we design provide this support by explicitly focusing instruction on scaffolded sequences of core ideas built up as students predict, explain, and model ever more complex phenomena. The conceptual progressions that form the bedrock of our materials were adapted from the evidence-based undergraduate general chemistry curriculum Chemistry, Life, the Universe, and Everything (or CLUE). Accordingly, our curricular activity system is creatively named “High School CLUE” or HS-CLUE. The general approach used in this adaptation process is shown in Figure 1. The full process is described in the manuscript entitled “Adapting a Core-Idea Centered Undergraduate General Chemistry Curriculum for Use in High School”, linked below. Preliminary evidence from a pilot of HS-CLUE conducted during the 2017-2018 school year indicates that core-idea centered chemistry instruction can support students in relating atomic/molecular structure to observable properties.
Figure 1. Linked design−research cycles that model the development of HS-CLUE from CLUE. HS-CLUE learning objectives (“what students should know and be able to do”) arose directly from CLUE learning objectives, as signified by the red arrow. In a similar manner, curricular materials and assessments were adapted from existing CLUE materials, as signified by the violet arrow. Adaptation of objectives and materials represents development of the HS-CLUE hypothetical curriculum.
Teachers interested in a description of HS-CLUE sequencing and learning objectives may access this information here. Please note that HS-CLUE is a work-in-progress and refinements will be made year-to-year in response to outcomes data and teacher feedback. All HS-CLUE materials are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This work is generously supported by the National Science Foundation (DRL # 2003680).
R.L. Stowe, D.G. Herrington, R.L. McKay, and M.M. Cooper, “The Impact of Core-Idea Centered Instruction on High School Students’ Understanding of Structure-Property Relationships,” J. Chem. Educ. 2019, 96, 1327-1340.
R.L. Stowe, D.G. Herrington, R.L. McKay, and M.M. Cooper, “Adapting a Core-Idea Centered Undergraduate General Chemistry Curriculum for Use in High School,” J. Chem. Educ. 2019, 96, 1318-1326.
High School – Chemistry, Life the Universe and Everything (HS-CLUE)
Version 4 (2020-21 Academic Year)
Teacher Unit-Overviews, Big Ideas, Learning Objectives and Skills
|Order of Units||Title of Units||Links to Complete Teacher Notes for each unit|
|||Atoms|| – Teacher Notes complete|
|||Atomic Interactions|| – Teacher Notes complete|
|[2/3]||Nuclear||[2/3] – Teacher Notes complete|
|||Electrons|| – Teacher Notes complete|
|||Emergent Properties and the Mole|| – Teacher Notes complete|
|||Intermolecular Forces|| – Teacher Notes complete|
|||Thermochemistry|| – Teacher Notes complete|
|||Solutions|| – Teacher Notes complete|
|||Chemical Reactions|| – Teacher Notes complete|
|||Kinetics & Equilibrium|| – Teacher Notes complete|
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation (DRL # 2003680) and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.