Review: This is another title in the GEMS series. This title is designed for Grades 6 to 10 and explores chemical reactions and conservation of matter as chemicals in a ziplock bag bubble, change color and produce gas, heat and an odor - all safely.
Other Information: Chemical Reactions ($9.00 plus shipping) is available from University of California Berkeley, GEMS, Lawrence Hall of Science #5200, Berkeley, CA 94720-5200. Call 510-642-7262.
As facilitators of learning we have the opportunity to orchestrate experiences that help children construct understanding. Often this requires the art of unraveling misconceptions associated with a given concept and building experiences that will provide evidence that can stand in contrast to the misconception. This is certainly one worth pursuing. One of the misconceptions associated with matter provides us with the opportunity to explore phase change through the lens of a "system".
As a teacher, I want to direct learning, but as a facilitator, I want my students to feel ownership of their own investigations. Several years ago, I decided to put the students in charge of developing their own investigations, using kits of materials that I gathered. My hope was that they would be able to explore with these materials, and then develop questions they could answer through experiments that they would design. This did not yield the results I had hoped for, as I will describe. So I adapted my teaching to a more structured approach to inquiry.