Poetry, Puns, and Possibilities in Chemistry A Science Unit Using PowerPoint, Poetry, and Puns

Curriculum-Framing Questions
Essential Question
How may the use of literary genres assist in our understanding of and positive attitudes toward chemistry?
Unit Questions
How do we classify matter?
What matters in studying matter?

Content Questions
What are the differences between the states of matter?
What are the differences between acids, salts, and bases?
What are the differences between solutions, suspensions, and colloids?

Unit Summary
This unit is designed for high school chemistry students. One major instructional strategy is the use of student-created literary works to increase their understanding of and positive attitudes toward chemistry. Throughout the course, students will compose poetry; children’s stories; news articles, want ads, and other journalistic compositions; and other fiction and nonfiction works on chemistry-related topics. In this unit, which actually extends for several months, students will use technology to improve their presentation and organization of ideas. They will create a children’s story in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and a Chemistrivia Project brochure or a webpage that weaves accurate chemistry content into stories, poems, pundits, and other genres.
Student Objectives/Learning Outcomes
Students will present accurate chemistry content through the use of chemistry terms, concepts, and priniciples in fiction and nonfiction genres.
Targeted State Frameworks/Content Standards/Benchmarks
Although all chemistry content standards may be addressed, some are more appropriate than others for the requirements of the assignment.
Atomic and Molecular Structure 1. The periodic table displays the elements in increasing atomic number and shows how periodicity of the physical and chemical properties of the elements relates to atomic structure.
Chemical Bonds 2. Biological, chemical, and physical properties of matter result from the ability of atoms to form bonds from electrostatic forces between electrons and protons and between atoms and molecules.
Conservation of Matter and Stoichiometry 3. The conservation of atoms in chemical reactions leads to the principle of conservation of matter and the ability to calculate the mass of products and reactants.
Gases and Their Properties 4. The kinetic molecular theory describes the motion of atoms and molecules and explains the properties of gases.
Acids and Bases 5. Acids, bases, and salts are three classes of compounds that form ions in water solutions.
Solutions 6. Solutions are homogenous mixtures of two or more substances.
Chemical Thermodynamics 7. Energy is exchanged or transformed in all chemical reactions and physical changes of matter
Reaction Rates 8. Chemical reaction rates depend on factors that influence the frequency of collision of reactant molecules.
Chemical Equilibrium 9. Chemical equilibrium is a dynamic process at the molecular level.
Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry 10. The bonding characteristics of carbon allow the formation of many different organic molecules of varied sizes, shapes, and chemical properties and provide the biochemical basis of life.
Nuclear Processes 11. Nuclear processes are those in which an atomic nucleus changes, including radioactive decay of naturally occurring and human-made isotopes, nuclear fission, and nuclear fusion.
First Quarter
1. Teacher presents advance organizer lecture (We Study All That Matters) , which includes multiple poems.
2. Lecture topics are presented in a sequenced manner. Support materials include: States of Matter, Acids and Bases, Solutions, Naming and Making Compounds.

3. Over the course of the first quarter, students learn more about atomic structure (Rutherford’s Early Life), the periodic table (Put Yourself to the Chemistry Test and Element Poetry, Puns, and Possibilities), and states of matter (How Can This Be?). As topics are discussed, materials in parentheses are distributed to reinforce student learning.

Second Quarter
1. Students are assigned the Children’s Book Report and Handcrafted Book as their First Semester Project and sign up for readings. Handcrafted book samples are shared.
2. Selected books (published and handcrafted) are displayed throughout classroom as reinforcement.
3. Three days over the course of the semester are devoted to work on handcrafted books.
4. Handcrafted books are submitted at the end of the semester and an “Author’s Fair” is held.

Fourth Quarter
1. Day One: Students complete the Science/Nonscience Activity as a way to reintroduce the use of literary compositions to deepen understanding of chemistry.
2. Day Two: Students are assigned the Chemistrivia Project as their Second Semester Project. The samples and rubrics for the Chemistrivia Webpage versus the Chemistrivia Brochure are reviewed. Students are assigned groups and spend time in small group discussion and work on their storyboard.
3. Three weeks later, classes go to the computer lab to spend the period working on their Chemistrivia Projects.
4. Three weeks later, rough drafts are due and circulated for peer review.
5. Final drafts of Chemistrivia Projects are submitted at the end of the semester and an awards ceremony is held. Projects are displayed on the bulletin board and on department website.

Accommodations for Resource Student and English Learners
Resource and English learner students will work on projects in their resource support or ESL classes. This will allow them additional time to develop materials and review the major ideas with their teachers.
In addition, one of the two major assignments will be a group project, and resource and English learner students will be carefully positioned in groups to maximize their potential while also maximizing the assistance they may receive from group members. These students may be encouraged to utilize materials posted on the web instead of developing their own documents.

Student Assessment
Student assessment is built into the individual projects and first and second semester final examinations. See the Procedures for additional information.


SCIENCE THROUGH POETRY: A Cross-Curricular Approach

by Lyle Griegolet/Maria High School, Chicago, Illinois