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Showing posts with label graphing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label graphing. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lab: Determining the Density of Unknown Metals

Click on picture to download this lab for free.

Here is a brand new FREEBIE for you!

I have a friend who is a newly starting science teacher in our local middle school.  She has many years of teaching experience, but is new to the wonderful world of science.  Due to all sorts of factors beyond her control, she has been teaching a science class this year.  The textbook being used is neither life science nor physical science, but a spiraling mix of both.

Most of you know me as a biology teacher, but in my 28 years of high school teaching, I have taught chemistry classes for at least 15 of those years.  This week end my friend needed help, so together we came up with this idea for a simple lab that she could do.

I have added this lab to my store on, but it is FREE for the taking.  I hope that it will benefit many of you.  Just click the link below to download.

Lab: Determining the Density of Unknown Metals

The materials list for this lab is simple:  a balance, a graduated cylinder, and different pieces of metal.  You can use any metals that you might have available.  Most middle and high school labs will have pieces of aluminum, copper, magnesium, lead, and zinc.  This lab will work with whatever you have available.

The idea is very simple.  Students will determine the mass and volume of the metal strips, and use this data to calculate the density.  The student does not know the identity of the metal.  From a list of densities provided, the student will determine the identity of each metal.  We added 12 analysis  and follow up questions that are thought provoking and require some critical thinking skills.  And since standardized testing is almost upon us, we added a graphing exercise (involving density) to reinforce the graphing skills that were taught earlier.  Here is a quick look at a few of the pages.  An answer key is provided with the download.

Enjoy this new freebie and Happy Teaching!

Also related:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Here's a new FREEBIE for you!!

Click picture to download product.

 FREE Graphing and Data Analysis Worksheet 

By the time I teach the fungi to my biology classes, several months have passed since the beginning of the school year. At the start of each school year, I spend quite a bit of time teaching graphing and data analysis skills. I use this simple and FREE activity to kill two birds with one stone. This activity allows me the opportunity to review the basic science skills of graphing and data analysis while at the same time reinforcing concepts on the fungi.

Mycorrhizae are fungal hyphae that live in mutualistic relationships with the roots of plants. Mycorrhizae are essential in the role of increasing absorptive surface area of plant roots. Mycorrhizae enable plant roots to absorb water as well as phosphorus and other essential mineral ions.

In this activity, students are given information about plants that are grown with and without the assistance of mycorrhizae. Quantitative data is given. Students graph the data and answer 8 data analysis questions.

This is perfect for a short homework assignment or classwork. This can also be left in your sub folder to be used in your absence.

And best of is absolutely FREE!!

Mycorrhizae: Graphing and Data Analysis Worksheet

Happy Teaching!!

(Coming soon... "The Fungi:  A Complete Unit Plan of 10 Products")

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New FREE Item: "Using a Graph to Find Area"

I recently realized that my students need a lot more extra practice on certain science skills:  Graphing, use of simple pieces of lab equipment, problem solving, critical thinking, interpolation and extrapolation.  I wrote this activity to cover all of these things.  

In this lab activity, I give each group of students 4 pieces of poster board of regular size.  Prior to the lab, I cut the poster board into different sizes and shapes.  The students use a ruler to determine the length and width of each regular-shaped piece.  They then determine the area of the piece of poster board.
A balance is used to determine the mass of each piece of poster board, and this data is placed on a graph.  The student should immediately see from the graph that there is a direct relationship between mass of the poster board and the area of the poster board.  When the four points are plotted on the graph, it should result in a straight line.

There is nothing amazing about this activity, but it does provide VALUABLE practice in graphing.  Next, comes the problem solving and critical thinking section of this lab.  Students are given a piece of poster board that is irregular in shape, and they are asked to determine the area of this oddly shaped piece of poster board.  The student easily determines the mass of the irregular piece.  Once the mass is known, the student will use their graph to determine the area.

The activity also includes follow up questions.  The student will use their graph to interpolate and extrapolate to determine the answer to a series of questions.

I am offering this activity to you for free.  I hope that you will enjoy using it with your students.

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Teach the Skills: Graphing

Graphing:  Make this a part of as many lessons as possible!

I am going to be writing about science skills for a while.  If you missed my article from yesterday, then please scroll down and you will know exactly why I am preaching about science skills!  My plan is to "talk" about a different skill everyday.

Today, the topic is "Graphing".  Obviously, we want students to become masters of problem solving and critical thinking.  Make as many of your labs and classroom activities as possible "quantitative" in nature.  I do many activities that are "qualitative" and involve drawing and describing, but most of my labs are math based and involve the collection of numerical data.  Here are some quick reasons why this is so important in your teaching:

  1. Many students are reaching high school without a clear understanding of how to construct a graph.
  2. Students must be able to identify the independent and the dependent variables and know which axis to place them on.
  3. It provides an opportunity to have students think through a problem and determine a possible solution.
  4. By placing several lines of data on the same graph, you can have the students practice how to analyze data to reach a proper conclusion.
  5. You can provide additional problem solving questions to accompany the graphing activity, such as "What do you suppose would happen if this were changed....", or "What would be the outcome if...."
  6. You can include interpolation and extrapolation questions.
  7. The science questions on many standardized tests (ACT, our State End of Course Test) ask students questions that involve the reading and interpreting of tables and graphs.

I hope these reasons will convince you to include more tabling, graphing and analyzing of information.  But, please!!!  No graphing calculators!!!  (This is a pet peeve of mine that needs to be the subject of another article at another time!)  I firmly believe the calculator is crippling our students.  The calculator is a wonderful tool.....but AFTER the student can do the skill without the calculator.

If you need some help getting started in incorporating graphing into your classes, these products might be of some help to you:

Lab:  Acids, Bases and Cells   Requires extensive graphing of results.

Tabling, Graphing and Analyzing Data   PowerPoint with Notes for Teacher and Student