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ERIC Number: EJ1120911
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Apr
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8555
Making Molecular Movies
O'Brien, Walter
Science Teacher, v82 n4 p29-34 Apr 2015
One of the most difficult challenges of incorporating literacy in the classroom--as called for by the "Common Core State Standards" (NGAC and CCSSO 2010)--is inspiring reluctant writers. Students are often unmotivated by essay assignments or having to write answers to open-ended questions. Some students may even view these as obstacles instead of learning opportunities, which means they aren't gaining experience in the scientific and engineering practice of obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information, as described in the "Next Generation Science Standards" (NGSS Lead States 2013). To address this shortcoming in the science classroom, the author implemented an ambitious project in which he substituted creating digital movies for traditional literacy assessments in his sophomore chemistry classes. His goal was to answer these research questions: (1) To what extent does creating a movie motivate sophomore chemistry students to read and write?; (2) To what extent does movie creation foster creative critical thinking and expression?; and (3) To what extent is the evaluation process of movies more engaging than traditional writing assignments? The author tested this activity with 153 of his sophomore chemistry students, using various reading levels. In his honors class, students were assigned to read a chapter on cellulose from Napoleon's Buttons (Le Couteur and Burreson 2003), a fascinating book that explains how 17 molecules affected human history, health, economics, and geopolitics. The chapter on cellulose details how glucose monomers link in different ways to produce the polymers known as cellulose. Students learn how slight differences in structure result in cellulose polymers having different functions and how cellulose affected the industrial revolution. The chapter draws upon "NGSS" core ideas from physical science and the crosscutting concepts of Patterns.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A