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      Strategies: Help with Fundamentals

      The following activities are suggestions for working with students who need help with fundamentals. We hope that the activities spark ideas and conversations among teachers about useful classroom strategies that can supplement existing curriculum.

      Difficulty 1

      Some students believe constant speed needs some cause to sustain it and that if a body is not moving, there is no force acting on it and that if a body is moving there is a force acting on it in the direction of the motion.

      • Students should have previously explained that an unbalanced force acting on an object changes that object's speed and/or direction (Physical Sciences, Benchmark B, Grades 6-8). This concept is critical to student understanding of Newton's laws of motion. Students should review this skill before approaching related grade-level concepts.

      • At this level, students should demonstrate that objects remain at rest or maintain a constant speed and direction of motion unless acted on by an unbalanced force (Physical Sciences, Benchmark D). Click here* for a series of lessons from the Physics Classroom that use everyday examples to demonstrate concepts related to Newton's first law, inertia, and balanced and unbalanced forces. This resource includes information about the historical development of ideas related to Newtonian mechanics (Physical Sciences, Benchmark H).

      Difficulty 2

      Student thinking about chemical changes tends to be dominated by the obvious features of the change (macroscopic view). Many students do not understand that new substances are formed by the recombination of atoms in the original substances (microscopic view).

      • Students should have previously related chemical processes to the behavior and/or arrangement of the small particles that compose matter (Physical Sciences, Benchmark A, Grades 6-8). Students should review this skill before addressing related grade-level concepts.

      • At this grade level, students should be able to explain how atoms react with each other to form other substances, including how atoms form bonds by losing, gaining or sharing electrons and that in a chemical reaction, the number, type of atoms and total mass must be the same before and after the reaction. Students may practice their skills for this indicator using the following tutorials:

        • Click here* for the "Ionic Compound Construction Kit" which provides students with the opportunity to write correct chemical formulas of compounds formed from ions.
        • Click here* for the "Chemical Equation Construction Kit" for students to practice writing balanced chemical equations.

        These activities, along with other research-based, aligned lessons, may enable students to explain how atoms react with each other to form other substances and how molecules react with each other or with other atoms to form even different substances (Physical Sciences, Benchmark B).

      Difficulty 3

      Students may tend to think that energy transformation involves only one form of energy at a time.

      • Students should have previously described that energy takes many forms, some representing kinetic energy and some representing potential energy, and that during energy transformations the total amount of energy remains constant (Physical Sciences, Benchmark A, Grades 6-8). Students should review these skills if necessary before addressing related grade-level concepts.

      • Click here* for "Atmospheric Processes: Convection," a lesson in which students demonstrate that thermal energy can be transferred by convection of moving air masses. This activity contributes to student understanding of grade-level expectations that include how energy may change form or be redistributed but the total quantity of energy is conserved (Physical Sciences, Benchmark F). Students also describe identifiable physical properties of substances (Physical Sciences, Benchmark C), and participate in and apply the processes of scientific investigation (Scientific Inquiry, Benchmark A).

        *This link contains resources or information that may be useful. These resources were not written to align specifically to Ohio's Academic Content Standards. The inclusion of a specific resource is not an endorsement of that particular resource, or any of its contents, by the Ohio Department of Education. Teachers are advised to preview all sites before using them with students.

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