One of the things I love most about being a teacher is that each day I get to see the direct impact of the work I do. Over the past four years, I have seen just how high the stakes are for my students. But every skill or life-lesson I teach them can open the door for opportunities and put them on the life path to becoming engaged global citizens in an ever changing society. The world around us is filled with matter and I want my students to be able to be able to quantify and describe it at both a microscopic and macroscopic level so they can fully understand it.
This curriculum unit will focus on changes that occur in matter. Middle school students will first learn about the three states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases). We will then examine the role thermodynamics (energy, heat, and work) plays in phase transitions. Students will practice modeling molecules and describing the molecular properties of each state of mater and mixtures. Through hands on experiments, students will be able to compare and contrast physical and chemical changes. Finally, students will gain a deeper understanding of the law of conservation of matter and chemical equilibrium by writing chemical equations for everyday chemical reactions.
This curriculum unit will allow me to enrich my students’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them, which is filled with matter. Academically, my students will gain exposure to real-world scientific connections. And finally, this unit will provide my students with a deeper understanding of STEM careers and hopefully spark their interest in pursuing a degree in physical science and physical chemistry.
The New Haven 7
grade curriculum includes content aligned with the Physical Science and Physical Chemistry seminar topic. This seminar will connect with the first two units in the 7th grade curriculum (Properties of Matter and Chemical Properties) including: states of matter, phase transitions, units of measurement, mixtures, and chemical equations. However, this unit will address a gap in the current New Haven curriculum, which does not consider
phase changes occur. Students will learn about enthalpy and entropy and be able to use mathematical skills to analyze the Gibbs free energy equation (ΔG = ΔH – TΔS).