Big Ideas at a Very Small Scale

by: Claudia Khourey-Bowers

The purpose of this article is to share a learning-cycle sequence of lessons designed to convey the particulate nature of matter through use of physical models and analogical thinking. This activity was adapted from Conceptual Chemistry, a long-running professional development program for teachers of grades 4–9. Conceptual Chemistry’s approach is to emphasize broad conceptual understanding, students’ ideas about science, and content-focused literacy skills. As a result of engaging in this series of lessons, students will observe macroscopic properties of matter and begin to develop scientific models to explain the particulate nature of matter.


Type Journal ArticlePub Date 12/1/2009Stock # ss09_033_04_26Volume 033Issue 04

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