Wednesday, March 19, 2008

While I Was Grousing

Well, something amazing happened to me today. You may have noticed (especially since I've told ya' up front) that this hasn't been what I would call a "banner year" for me. But, in spite of all that BS a small flower budded out of it. (I guess it liked the fertilizer??)

This was my learning goal for the day: Get Kids To Know That The Atomic Number Tells Us The Number Of Protons In The Nucleus Of An Atom. Or, Mysteries of the Periodic Table Revealed Part I. (Yes, I actually do announce it as such in class.)

Anyway, after getting the kids to write the above in their notes we broke out the periodic table in the textbook. I passed out mini-white boards, markers, and erasers and made the kids find out "How many protons does gold have?" and "Which element has 98 protons in its nucleus?" and such. **BTW the answers are "79" and "Californium."

Anyway, some of the classes were able to move on to finding out how many neutrons are in the nucleus (in case you forgot, you take the atomic mass and subtract the atomic number).

In the end, most of them agreed it was quite easy using the periodic table to get these numbers and a few even said that the periodic table was a lot less scary than they thought. In fact, they all felt very smart!

And that was the magic: making these kids, kids who hate math and read at the 4th grade level, who don't speak/read English, who want to join gangs, enabling them to do something totally different and "sciencey" and feel smart.

I'm glad it happened in spite of my pissy mood.


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