||SciGuide Review shared on NSTA Learning Center
The Atomic Structure SciGuide has a wealth of information. The guide is divided into three themes: Interaction of Matter, Description of Matter, and Classification of Matter. Within each theme there are further divisions. For example, the Interactions of Matter theme consists of: Conservation of Mass, Rates of Reactions, Types of Reactions, and Organic Chemistry. For each theme there are additional resources for K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Each theme has a sample lesson plan along with a sample of student work. I appreciated the lesson plans and samples. They are great exemplars for me to guide me in my lesson planning.
I explored the Conservation of Mass section under the Interaction of Mass theme. There were chemistry lesson plans under Balancing Act. I thought these were quite good, and plan to use them for future use. The Balancing Act lessons included worksheets that would give practice for learning to balance chemical equations. These secondary sites lead you to the standards covered for the lessons. Another section takes you to a site called “Sci-Links”. The first link is help with chemical equations. I think this is a great link to provide review on chemical reactions. It is an interactive source in which a person can pull up an equation/problem and the person is given three opportunities to solve the problem. If the person still could not answer the problem, the site provides an answer plus an explanation for the problem. Students could use this as a resource to help them learn to solve chemical equations without the need of an actual teacher. This site provides several chapters of this sort of interactive/ supplemental learning.
I continued with the section called World of Molecules which is also under Conservation of Mass. Under the sites for teachers there was information on: food molecules, antioxidant molecules, supplements, molecules for life, molecules of emotions, molecules of disease, drug molecules, pesticides and insecticides, solvent molecules, fuel molecules of color, and materials. I opened up several of selections under World of Molecules. I skimmed through food molecules, and I was interested in learning more about the foods we eat. The molecules of emotions were another interesting topic. I was reminded how our bodies’ chemical reactions can cause our mood and emotions. Another section of the World of Molecules I looked at was the Molecules of Disease. There was a cute interactive for an over active bladder. The interactive showed cartoon characters explaining the reasons/ causes of an overactive bladder. It was here where I thought so much of this information is so interesting and useful for the general public. I then looked into Drug Molecules. I tapped into “nicotine” since I know families have members who have picked up smoking. I was interested in knowing that the chemical calms people and curbs appetite. Sometimes family members pick up smoking again, because they are under a lot of stress. This explains why they start up again, because they need the calming effect of nicotine. Sadly, there is a strong addiction to nicotine which is an addiction stronger to that of cocaine and heroin. As much as we want family members to quit smoking, it is extremely difficult for them.
Another interesting site was “states of matter”. This site allowed the user to adjust three different substances and see them change into different states of matter. I liked this site and hopefully will incorporate it into a lesson plan. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the section on water properties, water basics, and earth water. I saw this section as one that would be relevant to most students including the ones I teach. I plan to use the sections on water properties, water basics, and ground water. I appreciate and plan to incorporate the quizzes for water properties and ground water. I hope that this bit of knowledge I try to teach will be long lasting and cause an awareness to conserve our water. Although I only skimmed through the pictures, I think that the ones I looked at could be great spring boards for water preservation. For example the big chicken houses, and the way that some put their wastes into the water supply.
There is a section for students under conservation of mass which is a tutorial on balancing equations. After checking it a couple times, I could not access this section. I think any tutorial would be great for students who are struggling with a chemical concept.
Description of Matter is the second theme. Under this theme are the following: atomic structure, radioactivity, types of bonds, and acids and bases. Once again there are resources available for k-4, 5-8, and 9-12. At the time that I checked the site I couldn’t access a couple sites under “sites for teachers”. They were “The Particle Adventure” and “Heat and Temperature”. I looked at “Atomic Poetry” and thought the concept was great. Since I teach resource special education, I thought combining two difficult ideas into one would probably not work. I will keep this idea in the back of my mind, however, if I change my thought process. A cute idea in this section is the “Electron Slide”. I could really see using this idea with my students. My students are multisensory, and I can see a version of this fitting into their learning style! Under the Sites for Students, I liked the different games that were presented such as, “Element Hangman”, flash cards and assertive other interactive games.
Classification of Matter is the final theme. This theme includes: mixture vs. pure substances, periodic table, phases of matter, and physical & chemical properties. Once again there were resources for all grade levels. When I looked at “Mixture Versus Pure Substances”, I was surprised at all of the labs that were provided for teachers to use. I currently cannot do some of these labs unless I hook up with a general education teacher, because I do not have access to most of the equipment. I was impressed with the many good, relevant labs which students would be interested in. I really liked the Periodic Table Interactive. This site first explains the periodic table, and you can even download it for the interactive. The site has an interactive, and the user has to decide if the element is a cation or anion. Then the user needs to figure out if what element they are showing. I think this exercise is simple enough for my students, and it is something we can do as a class. Another section I enjoyed was the “Ionization of Electrons”. This site provided a very clear and simple way of showing how electrons are prone towards accepting or receiving electrons. I viewed another site called Path to the Periodic Table. It showcased some of the founding fathers of chemistry and what they did to explain what we know about chemistry.
I found the Atomic Structure SciGuide to be very informative and useful. I plan to use many of the ideas in my lesson plans.