STEAM

For STEAM Spotlight, we take a look at Ms. Roros' period 2 honors chemistry class who have been learning about the basics of matter and properties. The problem presented to the students was "how can the properties of chemicals be used to help separate them from a mixture?" Students made observations of individual chemicals that would be in their mixture to learn about the structure and function of each, particularly focusing on differences in solubility, reactivity, density, particle size, and magnetism. Students employed science and engineering practices as they planned and carried out an investigation on how to separate iron, Styrofoam beads, salt and sand into separate components from a mixture based on their different properties. Each group wrote a thorough procedure, edited it, and carried it out. Since there is no such thing as "error-free" experimentation, Ms. Roros and her students all had to laugh when little things went wrong, as they have come to appreciate and expect in science class.  Resiliently, students had to troubleshoot these little errors by asking questions and defining problems and had to record any sources of errors.  Others had to respond to errors by actively designing solutions in real time by making and taking note of changes to their procedure. At the end of the lab, the students shared an exhausted sense of satisfaction that they had designed and carried out a procedure nearly all by themselves, and Ms. Roros was definitely proud of the group for their accomplishments. Soon they will measure their separated substances once they come out of the drying oven to analyze and interpret their data to see how successful they were in separating each chemical from the mixture. Come back next marking period to see another class