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Modeling Chemistry

Modeling Chemistry

The Modeling Method has been developed to correct many weaknesses of the traditional lecture-demonstration method, including the fragmentation of knowledge, student passivity, and the persistence of naive beliefs about the physical world. Coherent Instructional Objectives * To engage students in understanding the physical world by constructing and using scientific models to describe, to explain, to predict and to control physical phenomena. * To provide students with basic conceptual tools for modeling physical objects and processes, especially mathematical, graphical and diagrammatic representations. * To familiarize students with a small set of basic models as the content core of physics. * To develop insight into the structure of scientific knowledge by examining how models fit into theories. * To show how scientific knowledge is validated by engaging students in evaluating scientific models through comparison with empirical data. * To develop skill in all aspects of modeling as the procedural core of scientific knowledge. Student-Centered Instructional Design * Instruction is organized into modeling cycles which move students through all phases of model development, evaluation and application in concrete situations -- thus promoting an integrated understanding of modeling processes and acquisition of coordinated modeling skills. * The teacher sets the stage for student activities, typically with a demonstration and class discussion to establish common understanding of a question to be asked of nature. Then, in small groups, students collaborate in planning and conducting experiments to answer or clarify the question. * Students are required to present and justify their conclusions in oral and/or written form, including a formulation of models for the phenomena in question and evaluation of the models by comparison with data. * Technical terms and concepts are introduced by the teacher only as they are needed to sharpen models, facilitate modeling activities and improve the quality of discourse. * The teacher is prepared with a definite agenda for student progress and guides student inquiry and discussion in that direction with "Socratic" questioning and remarks. * The teacher is equipped with a taxonomy of typical student misconceptions to be addressed as students are induced to articulate, analyze and justify their personal beliefs.

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