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Author: Jeff Houck

Title: Atomic Theory Timeline

Grade Level: 10 and 11

Content/Subject Area: Science – Chemistry

Abstract:

Students will be collaboratively investigating the development of the modern atomic


theory using online and text resources. Upon completing their research the student will
compile a timeline using Inspiration. The timeline focuses on the major discoveries made
surrounding matter and the atom and how they affected the current thoughts of the time
period. The students will then share their timelines using a “store front” approach and
compare their work with the work of others.

LoTI Level: 3+

Assessment:

• Room circulation having groups explain timelines


• General class discussion upon completion of the activity
• Test/Quiz questions
• Power Point for freshman class presentations (will be used as a review for final exam-
not a formal portion of this project)

Standards Met:

Science-

B.12.1 Show how cultures and individuals have contributed to the development of major
ideas in the earth and space, life and environmental and physical sciences

D.12.1 Describe atomic structure and the properties of atoms, molecules, and matter
during physical and chemical interactions

Information and Technology

A.12.3 Use a computer and productivity software to organize and create information

D.12.1 Participate productively in workgroups or other collaborative learning environments


Tools and Resources:

• Software: Internet Explorer or Netscape; Inspiration©


• Hardware: 7-10 Personal Computers, LCD projector, Smart Board
• Web Sites: http://trackstrar.hprtec.com track #173765
• Text: Chemistry by Smoot, Smith, and Price

Procedure:

1. Meet in base group. Introduce all members of the group. Make sure each person
knows his/her letter. Clarify the objectives, directions, and goals.

2. Break into expert groups according to letters. Introduce all members of the group.
Each member of the expert group should research the atomic scientist assigned to
them (using text and Internet). All members are responsible for a complete
understanding. When every one is finished all members meet and discuss the
material deciding and recording the most important points.

3. When each expert group has fully discussed their scientist(s), each student returns to
his/her base group.

4. Base group members then construct a timeline of all the atomic scientists using
Inspiration. Each “expert” should explain their information focussing on how it
changed the way of thinking about atoms and the atomic theory as they are
constructing the timeline.

5. After all members of the base group have contributed to the timeline the base group
may add graphics, etc. to their timeline.

6. Upon each group’s completion, a copy of the timeline should be printed for each
member and the teacher.

7. The class will then use a “store front” approach to present their information to the
other groups in the class. Two members from the base group will stay at their station
to explain their timeline to others while the other members go “shopping” at other
groups. The students who are shopping should be comparing and contrasting their
timeline with the other groups looking for key information that may be missing.

8. The members of each base group will then switch roles allowing the other members
to shop.

9. The base group will then meet one final time to make sure that all members of the
group have made and changes to their timelines.

10. A class discussion of the material will then take place where the teacher facilitates the
construction of a general timeline focussing on the major shifts in thinking and the
changes that brought them about. (This is done using a Smart Board and LCD project,
but could also be done utilizing a chalkboard.)
Reflection on Project Design:

The design of the “Atomic Timeline” project was an attempt to let the students create
their own understanding of the development of the current view of the atom.
Traditionally this has not been a favorite unit of the students because it just involved
them taking notes on a bunch of dead people and memorizing a few facts.

The new project is more self-directed and allows students to work together in cooperative
groups to perform basic research and synthesize the information to shape the current
views on the atom. In addition to letting the students construct their own understanding
of the concepts, the Inspiration software allows the students some flexibility in how they
create their timeline. They have the opportunity to use either the outline or diagram
features of the program allowing them to create a representation that is most beneficial to
their learning style.

Reflection on Project Implementation:

The “Atomic Timeline” project was a synthesis of two strategies used in class previously
during the school year. Prior to the start of this project all students have had experience
in both a cooperative jigsaw activity as well as using inspiration. As a result the students
did not raise many logistical questions pertaining to the formation of the groups nor about
what they were to accomplish in either their base group or their expert group. It was also
very beneficial that the students had practice using Inspiration. All of the students were
well versed in the capabilities of Inspiration, therefore they could spend most of their
time focussing on learning the chemistry and constructing their timelines. This prior
experience helped make classroom management a virtual non-issue.

While the project seemed to run smoothly it should be noted that there are some changes
that would enhance the project further. One suggestion is that the project should have
been extended to include more current research on atomic structure (quarks, strings, etc.).
It seems that students do not realize that there is ongoing research in this field that is still
causing our views of the atom to evolve. In addition it would also have been helpful to
have the students revisit their timeline to make additions and or changes as they
discovered more information throughout the up coming weeks. The students were
encouraged to make changes during the two days of the activity, but were not given the
same opportunity as their understanding of the atom evolved during the whole unit. Both
of these changes would have led to a better understanding for the students as well as a
more comprehensive view of the atom.
ATOMIC HISTORY TIMELINE
Cooperative Jigsaw Teaching Activity

BASE GROUP: team of five students (#1,2,3,4,and5)

EXPERT GROUP: team of students with all the same numbers

Group Number Scientists


1 Dalton
2 Lavoisier & Proust
3 Democritus & Aristotle
4 Newton & Boyle
5 Rutherford & Thomson

1. Meet in base group. Introduce all members of the group. Make sure each person
knows his/her letter. Clarify the objectives, directions, and goals.

2. Break into expert groups according to letters. Introduce all members of the group.
Each member of the expert group should research the atomic scientist assigned to
them (using text and Internet). All members are responsible for a complete
understanding. When everyone is finished all members meet and discuss the
material deciding and recording the most important points.

3. When each expert group has fully discussed their scientist(s), each student returns
to his/her base group.

4. Base group members then construct a timeline of all the atomic scientists using
Inspiration. Each “expert” should explain their information focussing on how it
changed the way of thinking as they are constructing the timeline.

5. After all members of the base group have contributed to the timeline the base group
may add graphics, etc. to their timeline.

6. Upon each group’s completion, a copy of the timeline should be printed for each
member and teacher.

7. The class will then use a “store front” approach to present their information to the
other groups in the class. Two members from the base group will stay at their station
to explain their timeline to others while the other members go “shopping” at other
groups. The students who are shopping should be comparing and contrasting their
timeline with the other groups looking for key information that may be missing.

8. The members of each base group will then switch roles allowing the other members
to shop.

9. The base group will then meet one final time to make sure that all member of the
group have made and changes to their timelines.

10. A class discussion of the material will then take place…

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