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Chemistry of Health
Ginger Hawhee

Unit created on 6/9/1999 EST.
Last modified 11/11/1999 4:01:13 PM EST.

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Fundamental Understandings (help)

An element is composed of a single type of atom. The placement of elements on the Periodic Table demonstrates the trends and properties of the elements. The reactivity of elements in the human body determine their impact on health.

Technology ISTE Standards (info) 

Technology productivity tools Use technology tools and resources for managing and communicating personal/professional information (e.g., finances, schedules, addresses, purchases, correspondence). Technology communication tools Routinely and efficiently use online information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and productivity. Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others to contribute to a content related knowledge base by using technology to compile, synthesize, produce, and disseminate information, models, and other creative works. Research Tools Routinely and efficiently use online information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and productivity. Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning.

Information Literacy Standards (info) 

Standard 1 Accesses information efficiently and effectively. Standard 3: Uses information effectively and creatively. Standard 4: Pursues information related to personal interests. Standard 9: Participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information.

Relevance (help)

Reside at the heart of the discipline The concepts of the periodic table, especially trends as related to reactivity, are relevant to the students' understandings of the chemistry of the human body and the significance to keeping their bodies healthy. Represents a big idea having enduring value beyond the classroom: Students can build an understanding of their own body chemistry and how it relates to their personal health while comparing and contrasting the properties of all elements. Require uncoverage, meaning that misconceptions need to be identified and clarified: Elements are part of the living world, while students often view the elements as abstract and not a part of their living world. Offer potential for engaging students: By understanding the impact of certain elements, this study gives the students ownership of their decisions relating to the health of their bodies and the world around them.

Assessment (help)

a. Formative assessment: Students will peer-assess their color-coded periodic table of elements generated in the first lesson. b. Summative assessment: Students' projects in the final lesson (posters based on research on one of the 26 elements of the human body) serve as their unit performance assessment of understanding.

Components (help)

Mapping Trends - This lesson introduces students to the periodicity of elements. It serves as the engagement aspect of the learning cycle. First, students use teacher-prepared index cards of the first 20 elements, arrange them by atomic mass, and "create" patterns within the 20. In order to test their "created" patterns, they compare them with the periodic table as organized by scientists. To achieve this, they color-code their periodic table, following teacher instructions, and visualize the trends. Each student then works with a partner and shares the patterns they observed. This activity gives students a framework for exactly that of which our world and human bodies are "made". Explorations of Reactivity - This student-centered lesson serves as the exploration phase of the learning cycle and allows students to observe chemical changes of matter through discussion and example. Students complete a series of microscale reactions of chlorine compounds with other elements, record observations and share them in a small group setting. Students relate the degree of observed reactivity to the patterns color-coded on the periodic table in the previous activity. Next, students create a spreadsheet using information from the 20 cards in "Mapping Trends," graph the data, and discuss the observed trends as a small group. A class discussion of reactivity as related to trends follows. This allows students to visualize reactivity as well as the relationship between reactivity and the periodic table. Predicting Reactivity - This lesson serves as the explanation and extension phases of the learning cycle. After a brief review of Bohr models, students are given models of highly reactive, moderately reactive and inert pairs of elements. They examine the various models and look for patterns in electron configuration that differ among the pairs of elements. Small group and class discussion connects student observations with periodic table trends. This leads into the algorithm used to determine the subatomic structure of an element based on its atomic mass and atomic number. Students are given several different atoms for which they determine the sub-atomic structure and potential reactivity. In the extension phase, students use this information and a limited set of materials to design and conduct a structured inquiry on reactivity. They predict levels of reactivity using provided chemicals, test their predictions, and share their findings with the class. Elemental Reactivity and Humans - This lesson relates the reactivity of elements to their impact on the human body. Students are given a list of elements (some beneficial and some harmful), write what they know about these elements as related to the human body, and use these journal notes to share during a class discussion. The teacher helps students make the connection that reactivity is very necessary in some cases, but harmful in others. Students groups are then assigned one of these elements about which they prepare a powerpoint presentation on the element's reactivity and, as a result, its impact on the human body. As a result, they begin to see relevance and importance of these elements to humans.

URLs (help)


Workforce Competencies (info) (help)

Information Managers, Effective Communicators, Ethical and Responsible Workers, Systems Managers, Cooperative Workers, Effective Leaders, Culturally Sensitive Leaders

Human Body Element Research
Explorations of Reactivity
Predicting Reactivity
Mapping Trends

Copyright 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
All rights reserved.

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