Day 12: First Quiz and Density Experiment in Chem 9

We started class by talking about my weird and hippie grading ways. Then we took our first quiz. I didn’t announce it ahead of time because I thought it would be better if we talked about how the grading would work right before they took it (and minimized the potential anxiety about assessments and grades). I think that worked well.

Here’s what it looks like for 17 kids to try and take a quiz at the same time in my classroom right now.


It’s a little chaotic, but they are making it work! I love these tables more than the individual desks (we traded furniture with the Bio Lab), but it definitely makes assessments more complicated.

They got the chance to check their work against mine at the end of class and write feedback/questions/notes on it. That whole routine is always a lot on the first time through, and the 9th graders did really well!


Next up was starting the last big lab for Unit 1. They narrowed down what they could measure to two possible relationships: mass and height (of the cylinder objects) or mass and volume (of those objects). We decided both of those are really similar relationships, so we stuck to measuring mass and volume. Someone in each class had an idea about using water displacement to measure volume, and one class made a cheat sheet on the board for how to do that (so they could refer back while taking data if necessary).

All of this was written by students. I didn’t even read the instructions they wrote until right now when I was writing this blog post. (I mean, I was there for the discussion they had about how to do it—no worries! I just mean that this was all 100% their own.)

Both classes took data, and one class mostly graphed it in Desmos, too. It’s no setting-steel-wool-on-fire, but they seemed engaged in the work for this lab.

I’m looking forward to the board meetings tomorrow. I’m also looking forward to tying it back to the particle diagrams. I already have some ideas for how to adjust the storyline a little bit in Unit 1 for next year. A couple of students have pointed out that it seems a little disjointed, and I agree that there are some places that could be a little tighter.

Bonus for today: students thought of a way to make the lab a tiny bit more sustainable.


They started collecting the water back in beakers so that they could reuse it for each new measurement and waste less water. Pretty soon the whole class was using their method. A+!

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