Each of the first four volumes provides 25 probes with easy-to-follow steps for uncovering and addressing students’ ideas by promoting learning through conceptual change instruction. Probes cover topics such as physical, life, and Earth and space science; the nature of science; and unifying themes. Each volume on page 23 provides topic-specific probes. These invaluable books include teacher materials that explain content, identify links to standards, and suggest grade-appropriate ways to present materials so students learn the concepts accurately. Teachers, professional development coordinators, and college science and preservice faculty will find these resources essential and exciting.
The purpose of this assessment probe is to elicit students’ ideas about chemical change. The probe is designed to find out how students determine whether a new substance with a different chemical makeup is formed when matter undergoes a change.
Chemical change, chemical reaction, mixture, physical change, substance
The best answers are B, C, F, I, J, K, N, and O. Each of these answer choices is a chemical change because each change results in a new substance that has a different chemical makeup than the original substance or substances. B: When a cake bakes, the baking soda produces bubbles of gas and the proteins from the egg change, binding the ingredients and making the cake firm. C: When a metal bar (iron) rusts, it combines with oxygen in the air and forms iron oxide (a reaction called oxidation). Iron oxide is a different substance from the original metal (iron). F: As an apple is exposed to air it combines chemically with the oxygen in the air, turning the apple brown. This chemical reaction is also an example of oxidation. I: When milk spoils, an acid is produced that gives the milk a sour taste. J: Frying an egg chemically changes the proteins in the egg. K: Burning a piece of wood decomposes the cellulose and releases carbon dioxide, water, and ash (the minerals that were in the wood). N: Other chemical reactions take place as the apple decomposes, releasing new substances such as ethylene gas. O: Several chemical reactions take place in the stomach to break food down into simpler substances that can be used by cells. Acids produced in the stomach along with enzymes react with food in the stomach.
The distracters A, E, and L are changes in which the state of matter (solid, liquid, or gas) changes but is still the same substance chemically. These changes are often referred to as physical changes. D and M are also physical changes. The sugar and salt dissolve in the water but they do not chemically combine with the water to form a new substance. The sugar water and the salt water are mixtures. Both the sugar and salt retain their properties and can be recovered by evaporating the water. In G, the sugar and milk are mixed together and then frozen. The mixture takes on a new form but the milk and sugar do not combine chemically to form a new substance. In H, a gas, helium, fills the balloon and the balloon rises. The helium does not change chemically into a different gas. P is also a physical change. Magnetizing merely changes the alignment of the atoms in the nail. It does not chemically change the iron.
This probe is best used with students in grades 3–12. Make sure students know that a new substance means the change results in new matter that has a different chemical makeup and properties that are different from the original matter. For younger students, eliminate answer choices they may not be familiar with.
3–5 PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
6–8 PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
9–12 PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
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Keeley, P. 2013. Uncovering student ideas in primary science, volume 1: 25 new formative assessment probes for grades K–2. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.
Keeley, P. 2016. Science formative assessment, volume 1: 75 practical strategies for linking assessment, instruction, and learning. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Mayer, K., and J. Krajcik. 2017. Core idea PS1: Matter and its interactions. In Disciplinary core ideas: Reshaping teaching and learning, ed. R. Duncan, J. Krajcik, and A. Rivet, 13–32. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 2012. A framework for K–12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Stavridou, H., and C. Solomonidou. 1989. Physical phenomena–chemical phenomena: Do pupils make the distinction? International Journal of Science Education 11 (1): 83–92.
Vogelezang, M. 1987. Development of the concept of “chemical substance”: Some thoughts and arguments. International Journal of Science Education 9 (5): 519–528.