Scope & Sequence
The approach is consistent with learning research that shows students need multiple exposures and varied contexts before they can effectively retain new knowledge and skills.
The text has three major parts:
Part 1 Chapters 1- 4: Fundamentals
The introductory chapters present a comprehensive overview of the main ideas in chemistry such as the atomic nature of matter, systems, temperature and energy. The design of Part 1 is to see the “big picture” before digging down to understand the details.
Chapter 1 The Science of Chemistry
Chapter 2 Matter and Atoms
Chapter 3 Temperature, Energy and Heat
Chapter 4 Physical and Chemical Change
Part 2 Chapters 5 - 14: Core Concepts
These chapters present in-depth coverage of all major topic areas. They develop a usable understanding of the big ideas laid out in the first four chapters. The treatment includes strong conceptual development as well as algebra-based quantitative problem solving.
Chapter 5 The Structure of the Atom
Chapter 6 Elements and the Periodic Table
Chapter 7 Bonding
Chapter 8 Compounds and Molecules
Chapter 9 Water and Solutions
Chapter 10 Chemical Reactions
Chapter 11 Stoichiometry
Chapter 12 Reaction Rates and Equilibrium
Chapter 13 Acids and Bases
Chapter 14 Gases
Part 3 Chapters 15 - 21: Applications
The final seven chapters provide extension and deeper exploration of significant areas of interest in chemistry.
Chapter 15 Electrochemistry
Chapter 16 Solids and Liquids
Chapter 17 Organic Chemistry
Chapter 18 The Chemistry of Living Systems
Chapter 19 The Chemistry of the Earth
Chapter 20 Nuclear Chemistry and Radioactivity
Chapter 21 The Chemistry of the Solar System
Extensive learning research since the 1960’s supports the conclusion that learning does not take place all at once, but occurs in stages that are part of a learning cycle. The cycle that begins with some kind of engagement experience in which the learner cognitively connects with the content being taught.
The learning experience is shaped through reflective and cognitive processes until it leads to real and retained learning. In 1989, Roger Bybee and colleagues suggested five steps that could serve as a model for developing instructional materials that explicitly made use of learning cycles. The five steps were called engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate.
The 5E model is a proven, well-used, and successful curriculum design philosophy that has been used in more than 230,000 lesson plans in the past three decades. While there have been many refinements, the core idea is as powerful today as when it was first published.
Learning only occurs when the mind engages with ideas, observations, and questions. Engagement with a curriculum means providing interesting, paradoxical, or challenging content which ignites a student's interest, while simultaneously giving them a path to learn. For this reason, most chapters of A Natural Approach To Chemistry begin with an "A" investigation in which students get hands-on experience with one or two aspects of the chapter content without knowing what they will discover. This keeps curiosity as a motivating factor because the students do not know what is going to happen. The Teacher's Edition suggests that these investigations be taught before the student has formal exposure to the content through lessons or readings.
Within the reading, the second page of each chapter shows an unusual or paradoxical experiment - with photographs. To help you prepare engaging lessons, 120 fully-illustrated Microsoft PowerPoint lessons contain more than 3,000 slides covering all 21 chapters of the text and all 58 investigations from the Lab Investigations Manual. Each Microsoft PowerPoint begins with engagement questions that motivate the content. As experienced teachers, we know that effective lessons often begin with engaging elements that get students to focus on the task at hand.
First Investigation ("A") in most chapters is specifically designed to be an engagement.
Each Microsoft PowerPoint begins with engagement questions.
Each chapter begins with both a short engaging reading and an interesting laboratory phenomenon.
The exploration phase of a lesson provides common, concrete experiences that students can discuss and share as they dig-in to a new concept. In a good exploration activity, students observe interesting aspects of a new idea, talk about them, and they may start suggesting ideas of their own.
✓58 investigations provide shared, concrete experiences involving every major area of chemistry knowledge and skills.
✓Stimulate student exploration of important aspects of a topic.
Students explore what they are interested in. By concentrating on the chemistry of the human body and the chemistry of the environment, examples throughout the text encourage exploration by making each new concept immediately relevant. This exploration is further developed through the investigations.
You have watched students try to explain something in their own words to you or another student. The very act of explaining to someone else is a crucial, and often necessary part of learning. Research confirms that until students can put a new idea correctly in their own words, they do not yet understand it.
Almost all of the Investigations in A Natural Approach To Chemistry provide opportunities for students to form and express explanations for real observations they make. In the text, more than 400 conceptual questions challenge students to apply the content of each chapter to explain something real that they might encounter in their lives, in the news, or even in movies.
New ideas begin in working memory, which is relatively short-term. To make the transition to long-term retention, the brain needs to connect new knowledge and skills to additional experiences and contextual knowledge. A Natural Approach To Chemistry provides many levels of elaboration both in hands-on investigations, in teacher support materials, and in the text.
End of chapter connections extend ideas to more contexts, skills and applications. Interdisciplinary investigations connect chemistry to other areas of science and also to every day life. Microsoft PowerPoint slides provide graphically compelling examples of how each concept plays out in realistic situations outside the classroom.
The traditional 5E model uses evaluate to mean assessment - has the idea really been learned and can it be applied? Self evaluation is particularly powerful since it often leads to more engagement.
✓ External evaluation in the form of homework, quizzes, and tests are also part of the equation.
✓ More than 1,500 conceptual questions and quantitative problems are provided in the text for each chapter.
✓ The ExamVIEW® test bank has more than 1200 questions and problems with BOTH multiple-choice and open response test banks for each chapter.
✓ Each investigation includes many formative assessments that provide multiple points of learning within each lesson.
There is another aspect to evaluation that is also important in A Natural Approach To Chemistry. At the top of Bloom's Taxonomy is the cognitive task of evaluation. Evaluation means using the new knowledge or skills to make a decision or compare one or more options.
We believe the practical value in knowing chemistry is that the knowledge can be used to evaluate situations and make rational decisions based on knowledge and data rather than on marketing propaganda or less reliable information. For example, chapter 10 introduces the principle of "atom economy" showing how a cleverly designed sequence of reactions reduces pollution in the chemical manufacturing of soda ash, a basic ingredient in making glass.
Inquiry. Both the text and laboratory investigations of A Natural Approach to Chemistry follow a guided inquiry-based instructional strategy that gives students a direct experience with scientific processes and how they are related to natural phenomena. Every component of the program; experimental design, laboratory investigations, data collection and analysis, computer modeling and simulations and communication are instructional activities that are inquiry-based.
Use of Evidence. Observation and use of evidence is at the core of developing the scientific process. Materials give teachers and students the opportunity to develop and use scientific evidence as the major tool for developing the scientific process. The student text elaborates with specific examples of the use of evidence and how the evidence results from scientific experiments and observations.
Critical Thinking. In every laboratory investigation, the students are asked formative questions that focus on developing critical thinking skills. Students are asked to think critically about observations that they make and are required to design derivative experimental procedures that explore a different range of parameters. Critical thinking is further developed by asking students to put concepts together in order to explain a more challenging phenomenon, often with quantitative analysis using their own data.
Making Connections. Making science relevant to personal experiences is fundamental for the active engagement of students. A Natural Approach to Chemistry achieves this goal by first placing emphasis on the experiential component of the curriculum, then making direct connections between the various scientific concepts and real world applications.
By making these connections, NAC gives students the opportunity to craft arguments and define positions based on scientific evidence and principles. For example: when students learn about nuclear chemistry, they become familiar not only with the basic nuclear science but also with the implications that these scientific concepts have on their lives.
Communication. The strong emphasis that A Natural Approach to Chemistry places on laboratory investigations provides students with many opportunities to develop their oral and written communication skills. Each laboratory investigation requires a communication strategy. In doing the laboratories, students work collaboratively, communicate orally, listen to others, organize their information, build their arguments, and develop ways to present information and draw conclusions.
Differentiated instruction does not mean you have to tailor lessons for each student or even have something designed for each different learning style. Either option is hopelessly impractical. The important idea is that there be some student choice and that there be more than one way to learn each topic. Even a textbook-centered lesson can be differentiated effectively. For example, allow some students to listen to your lecture as usual, however, offer a choice that others can read the text as a group in another part of your classroom and discuss the review questions you choose. A third option might be for the students to make up a quiz or poster on the subject that addresses five or ten specific learning objectives you give them.
Students listened to your lecture about reactions - this is primary audiovisual learning and linguistic learners tend to respond well.
Students read about reactions in their textbook - also audiovisual and linguistic learning but better for the intrapersonal learners who like working alone.
Students investigated the concept of reactions - this involves a group and therefore appeals to intrapersonal learners and kinesthetic learning styles.
Students solved problems on chemical change on their own or in groups - this involves the logical/mathematical learners and intrapersonal learners. Group-work brings in the interpersonal learners.
Leave it up to the students to learn the content in any way they choose to do the project. Most will choose to listen to your excellent lecture, but just the act of choosing will make them more engaged than they would be if listening to your lecture was the only option.
Formative assessments have two critical and important functions:
1. They provide real-time feedback on understanding to both teacher and student, during the actual learning process so learning activities can be adjusted immediately.
2. They focus reflection and discussion on specific aspects of an experience to facilitate learning. Reflection is essential to real learning and without directed prompts, most students will “do” but not “think” enough about what they did to learn from it.
Formative assessments in A Natural Approach To Chemistry primarily appear in the Investigations. Notice there are two forms of lists in the investigations; numbered lists (1, 2, 3,...) and lettered lists (a, b, c,...). The numbered lists (1, 2, 3,...) are suggested procedural steps in the investigation. The lettered lists are formative assessments. They pose questions that are meant to stimulate group discussion, discussion with the teacher, and reflection on what has been observed. We know that reflection and group discussion are crucial steps in learning through investigation. The lettered questions (formative assessments) focus student thinking on what the investigation is telling them. Without reflection students might just play with chemistry and not necessarily learn the science.