CHM 594/480: Modeling Instruction in Chemistry I
Held each June & in alternate fall semesters (2019, 2021)

at Arizona State University in Tempe


Instructor: Mitch Sweet


Hours in June:  8:00 – 3:30 pm M-Th, 8:00 – 12:00 F. (Hours in fall semester: 5:30 – 7:30 pm TTh)


Description: This workshop addresses core concepts (first semester +) in chemistry from a model-centered perspective. A second workshop in alternating summers addresses 2nd semester and advanced chemistry.


Clientele: The course is valuable for inservice and preservice chemistry and physics teachers; chemistry students who intend to teach college or high school; teachers who are preparing to take the AZ chemistry certification test. Useful for biology, earth science, and environmental science teachers, since chemistry is a foundation of these courses. Mimimum content prerequisite: Grade of 'B' or better in the first semester of a college chemistry course for science majors (e.g., CHM 150 or CHM 151 at MCCCD), or instructor consent.


Course objectives: The emphasis is on plans and techniques for helping students to learn concepts in chemistry from the perspective of systematically developed particle models for matter.  Instructional strategies include a coherent approach to the role of energy in physical and chemical change.


Course plan: Participants are introduced to principles of Modeling Instruction, and then learn how organizing a chemistry course around a series of particle models of increasing complexity can make the experience more coherent to students. They are given tested instructional materials for the nine units that we consider the core of a 1st year chemistry course, and they work through activities alternately in roles of student or teacher. They practice Socratic questioning techniques needed to promote meaningful classroom discourse.


Course content (Major topics in bold. Suggested topics below each major topic.)

I     Particulate structure of matter

      Macroscopic vs microscopic descriptions. compounds, elements and mixtures.

      Explanation of (observed) macroscopic properties using microscopic models.

      Systematic explanation of details with models of increasing complexity.

      Macroscopic evidence for microscopic structure (ionic vs molecular substances).


II   Energy and Kinetic Molecular Theory

      Visualizable models (macroscopic analogs) for solids, liquids and gases.

      Energy storage modes and transfer mechanisms.

      Role of energy in phase change.

      Distinction between heat and temperature.

III  Stoichiometry

      The mole concept – relating how much to how many.

      Using equations to represent chemical change.

      Non-algorithmic approaches to chemical calculations.


IV. Energy and chemical change

      Attractions vs chemical bonds.

      Chemical energy, thermal energy and ∆H.


V.  Naēve conceptions about matter and interactions

Expectations & Grading


You are expected to attend all days of this course.  If you miss two days (>1/10 of the contact hours), your maximum grade will be a B; if three, you may earn no higher than a C (exception for jury duty).  Please be on time and ready to go!  If you must miss a class or will be late, please email the instructors as soon as you can.



     You will need a set of the instructional materials for the course.  The chemistry I modeling manual includes Teacher Notes, sample worksheets, quizzes and tests, and labs. You will also need a 9 x 12” quad-ruled lab notebook. This size will allow you to easily paste in data you collect and graphs you produce from the labs you perform during the workshop, as well as your reflections on the activities and readings assigned during the workshop.  A free textbook is sometimes used; available in pdf online.

Š       June workshops get local corporate funding; hence for them, these materials plus a 3-ring binder and 10 divider tabs are provided for free for Arizona participants; they will be distributed on the first day.  Participants from out of state or from other countries need to pay Jane Jackson for the chemistry I modeling manual, and buy a quad-ruled lab notebook and 2”wide 3-ring binder & 10 dividers on their own.  Please buy materials before the first day of class if possible.


Student Learning Outcomes:

At successful course completion, students will have

Š       improved their instructional pedagogy by incorporating the modeling cycle, inquiry methods, critical and creative thinking, cooperative learning, and effective use of classroom technology,

Š       deepened their understanding of content in 1st semester chemistry

Š       experienced and practiced instructional strategies of model-centered discourse, Socratic questioning/whiteboarding, use of standardized evaluation instruments, coherent content organization,

Š       strengthened coordination between mathematics and chemistry,

Š       increased their skill in all eight scientific practices recommended by the National Research Council in “A Framework for K-12 Science Education.” Models and theories are the purpose and the outcomes of scientific practices. They are the tools for engineering design and problem solving. Thus, modeling guides all other practices.


Listing of assignments:

This course meets for ~90 hours (studio format) in June (60 hours in fall). In June you are required to do at least 45 hours of work outside of class (including reading, worksheets, lab reports, and writing. (In fall you are required to do at least 75 hours of work outside of class. ) Assignments are listed in the homework document; their links to the Student Learning Outcomes are evident.

Course Grade:

      To be considered for a letter grade of “B”, you will be expected to do the following (in June; modified in fall semester): (See the homework document):

Š       You will be assigned several readings from chemistry education research.  For each of these you will be expected to write a one-page reaction (not a summary!) in which you offer your views about the ideas discussed in the reading assignment.  We will discuss these in class the next day.  (40%)

Š       For each day of class, you are expected to write a minimum one page reflection (not a summary of the day’s activities!) about the overall content of the unit - Teacher notes, labs, worksheets, etc.- and how it is different from your current teaching practice, or how it is different from the way you were taught. (60%) 


Reactions and reflections are due each Friday (in the June workshop) and should be submitted electronically.  If the work is consistently incomplete or not satisfactory a “C” or lower grade can be given.


In order to be considered for a letter grade of “A”, you will have to complete three additional assignments - details of which will be elaborated on during the first few days of the course. Also refer to the homework document.  These will be due on or before the last course day.  One of the three assignments is a minimum 2-page typed paper describing how Modeling Instruction differs from your current practice and what changes you plan to incorporate, or the issues with which you will have to deal in order to implement the Modeling Method in your classroom.


Participants taking the course for non-credit are earning CEU’s along with clock hours towards recertification.  ASU expects you to complete and submit all assignments at a satisfactory level in order to receive the CEU’s, even though you are not receiving a grade.


Arizona Board of Regents and ASU policies:

Š       Each student is expected to work a minimum of 45 hours per semester hour of credit.

Š       Pass-fail is not an option for graduate courses.

Š       “B” grade means average; 3.0 GPA is min. requirement for MNS & other graduate degrees.

Š       Incomplete: only for special circumstances. Must finish course within 1 year, or it becomes “E”.

Š       An instructor may drop a student for non-attendance during the first two class days.

Š       An instructor may withdraw a student with a mark of "W" or a grade of "E" only in cases of disruptive classroom behavior.

Academic dishonesty policy:

Academic honesty is expected of all students in all examinations, papers, laboratory work, academic transactions and records. The possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, appropriate grade penalties, course failure (indicated on the transcript as a grade of E), course failure due to academic dishonesty (indicated on the transcript as a grade of XE), loss of registration privileges, disqualification and dismissal.  For more information, see   


Disability policy:

Qualified students with disabilities who require disability accommodations in this course are encouraged to make their requests to the instructor on the first class day or before. Note: Prior to receiving disability accommodations, verification of eligibility from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) is required. Disability information is confidential.


Suggested resources and readings (prior to the workshop):


1.     Modeling website at ASU:  Many articles are available on one of the pages: 

2.   Modeling Instruction: An Effective Model for Science Education, J. Jackson, L. Dukerich, D. Hestenes, Science Educator, Spring 2008;


3.     Cognitive Resources for Understanding Energy, Gregg Swackhamer

Pre-publication (2003)

4.     Modeling instruction article by a physics teacher:


Any of the CHEM-Study high school curricula, e.g.

Chemistry; J Dudley Herron, David Frank, et al, D.C. Heath 1993 ISBN 0-669-20367-X


Chemistry: Experimental Foundations (3rd ed). Robert W. Parry, Herb Bassow, Phyliss Merrill, and Robert L. Tellefsen. Prentice Hall, 1982. ISBN 0-13-129254-4.


Workshop readings (link to articles provided during class)

Great Ideas of Chemistry.  Ronald Gillespie. J Chem Ed 74 (7) July 1997

Wherefore a Science of Teaching?, David Hestenes. The Physics Teacher, April 1979

Testing for Conceptual Understanding in General Chemistry. Craig W. Bowen and Diane M. Bunce. The Chemical Educator, Volume 2 Issue 2 (1997), S1430-4171(97)02118-3  [Abstract only]

Improving Teaching and Learning through Chemistry Education Research: A Look to the Future. Dorothy Gabel.  J Chem Ed 76 (4) April 1999

Applying Modeling Instruction to High School Chemistry To Improve Students’ Conceptual Understanding, Larry Dukerich. J Chem Ed 92 (8) August 2105

Secondary Students’ Mental Models of Atoms and Molecules: Implications for Teaching Chemistry.  Allan G Harrison and David F Treagust, Science Education 80(5) (1996)

Beyond Appearances: Students’ misconceptions about basic chemical ideas. A report prepared for the Royal Society of Chemistry, by Vanessa Barker Kind.  Online in pdf at

Exothermic Bond Breaking: A Persistent Misconception, W Galley, J Chem Ed 81 (4) April 2004

Supplemental readings

Modeling Methodology for Physics Teachers, David Hestenes (1996) Online in pdf at


Download these documents at

* Whiteboarding: a learning process, by Don Yost (2 page article, 2003)

* Question Their Answers, by Brenda Royce (2-page article, The Physics Teacher 2004)

* Managing Discourse during Class Discussions, by Larry Dukerich & Brenda Royce

* Chemistry lab supplies list

* Chinn & Brewer: Anomalous Data (research summary)

* Daniel Schwartz & John Bransford: A Time for Telling (research summary)


Socratic Questioning Strategies: download at

Modeling Implementation rubric

Eureka videos #16 to 21: solids, liquids, evaporation and condensation; expansion and contraction, measuring temperature, temperature & 'thermal energy'.  (Visit in the section called ‘flipped classroom’)

Video clips from Ring of Truth: video #2: Change, and video #5: Atoms

Paul Andersen of Bozeman Science explains What is Modeling Instruction?

Derek Muller's 4-minute videos on matter and energy, that include naēve conceptions: weblinks are at

Lindsey, Beth; Paula Heron & Peter Shaffer: Student understanding of energy: Difficulties related to systems (research summary at )



Week 1: Overview, Introduction and Rationale

Simple Particle Model; Interactive Particle Model and Energy



Intros, course expectations, housekeeping issues, teacher mode vs. student mode, Modeling Chemistry talk; AMTA paperwork

Teachers take ABCC pretest

Unit 1: Matter – 1st demo; overview of Mass and Change-sample data, discuss particle representations

What is the ‘stuff’ like at its simplest level? U1 ws1; Ring of Truth clip on Conservation of Mass

Measurement of volume lab (intro to Logger Pro; interpret slope as conversion factor)

Measurement, precision and accuracy discussion, ws 2

1 Liter grad. cylinder vs. 1000 cm3 box demo
Mass-volume lab: Pre-lab; Data; Analysis, Post-lab discussion

Density as a conversion factor – non-algorithmic treatment


HW – read Gillespie: “Great Ideas of Chemistry”; journal reaction; read Hestenes: “Wherefore a science of teaching?”



Discussion of Gillespie and Hestenes articles

ws 3 and 4; WB selected problems

Density of a gas lab - representations of particles to account for density

Thickness of a thin-layer lab; post-lab discussion

Ring of Truth video clips: Gold leaf and thickness of oil slick, size of a particle
Mention web-site activity (ws 5)- The size of things- and other extras in Unit 1

Discuss Unit 1 test (review-comments on test)


HW – read Unit 1 Teacher Notes, reflect on overall design of unit, take unit 1 test



Unit 2: Energy & States of Matter-1: Diffusion demos (perfume and hot/cold water); discussion and model development; storyboards;

Show student storyboards - how they reveal naēve beliefs

States of matter – particle representations – Eureka videos 1-3

Thermometer demo; Eureka videos 4-5; ws1

Intro to pressure – relate to particle behavior – WB how to drink with a straw, pressure demos, websites

ws 2 Manometers

Use of Labquest and Logger Pro review

Gas behavior lab(s)- PVTn: P vs. V, P vs. n, P vs. T


HW – Read Wenning: “Whiteboarding & Socratic Dialogues” and write a reaction, review other WBing docs



Discuss WBing articles

Post-lab discussion; WB particle models for each experiment, discussion of KMT, theory vs. law

Rationale for proportional reasoning over equations for gas behavior

ws 3 and WB selected problems

Discussion of PVTn lab and low tech options; Discuss Unit 2 Test

Unit 3: Energy & States of Matter-2

Icy Hot lab

Post-lab discussion and WB, treatment of energy storage (accounts)

Energy concept – resolving chemistry and physics representations


HW – daily class reflection



HW – 4 daily reflections and 3 reading reactions due by midnight; read Energy and KMT reading; work on A assignments



Week 2 Overview:

Interactive Particle Model and Energy

Bonded Particle: Classification; Moles; Reactions



The story so far…Rationale for a unified energy concept – PowerPoint on Energy (refer to it)

Discussion of energy reading; reference PowerPoint on how to do energy bar charts

Qualitative treatment of energy; ws 1 & 2; WB discussion

Lauric acid lab and discussion of cooling curves

Eureka video 6, Quantitative treatment of energy and heat capacity, ws 3 & 4; WB selected problems

Unit 3: discuss review and test


HW: Read Gabel: “Improving Teaching and Learning…” and write a reaction; daily reflection



Discuss Gabel article

Unit 4: Describing substances

Pure vs. Mixture (particle representations and separation techniques)

Simple vs. Compound particles: Dalton atoms and video of Fe, S and FeS; electrolysis of water, Ring of Truth video clip on Electrolysis


More discussion on element, compounds and mixtures- particle diagrams


Avogadro’s Hypothesis- CHEM Study video on Gases and How They Combine; discussion of ws 2

(Where is Avogadro in 1st year chemistry texts?)


Research project- Dalton’s Playhouse website

Do ws 3 together and discuss its objectives; look at Unit 4 review and test


HW:  daily reflection, read Dukerich “Applying Modeling Instruction…” J Chem Ed 2015



Unit 5: Counting and Moles

Demo with garbage bag

Counting by massing – Relative Mass Activity

The mole concept; count-mass conversion factors

ws 1 : do together and discuss its objectives

Empirical Formula Lab, begin reaction


HW: read Larry’s synopsis of the Barker paper: “Beyond Appearances…” and write a reaction, work on A assignments



Discuss reading.

More on size of a mole concept; samples of molar masses

Molar conversions, ws2 and WB

Finish lab, analyze data, board meeting to compare results

Molecular formulas and % composition; ws 3 and WB

Discuss Unit 5 review and test

Unit 6: Particles w/Internal Structure

Sticky Tape activity, WB results

Post lab discussion- particle diagrams for tapes, paper/foil; develop Thomson model of atom.  PHET sims, cathode ray tube demo, etc.

Show clip from CHEM Study Chemical Families video, show a simple electrical circuit to test materials for cond.


HW: daily reflection




HW – 4 daily reflections and 4 reading reactions due at midnight, read Galley: “Exothermic Bond Breaking” and write a reaction, work on A assignments




Week 3

BPM: Reactions, Stoichiometry

Units 10/11; Wrap Up



Review of “Exothermic Bond Breaking…”

Conductivity of solutions demo- Model that accounts for Ionic vs. molecular

Copper (II) chloride electrolysis demo and discussion of e- transfer, existence of ions

Patterns in periodic table, ws1; discussion of PT issues in teaching modeling vs. traditional (elements, ion charges, e- config, etc.)


Mercury software demonstration, Mercury ws and ws 2

Discussion of of ionic & molecular compound properties, show models, ion charts, prefix rules, etc.  (skip ws 3 and 4 right now- do ws 5 and WB)


Discuss Unit 6 review and test


Unit 7: Representing Chemical Change

Nail lab -part 1 only- do now and let sit overnight

Rearranging atoms activity, post activity discussion on merits

How to make balancing equations a conceptual exercise


ws 1 Balancing equations; work 3,8,14 with particle diagrams, WB


HW – work on A assignments due Wed; daily reflection



Nail lab – part 2, allow Cu to dry


Types of Reactions Lab – sample data; some demos

Discuss representations and standard treatment of energy (potential energy graphs)

Discussion of Ech and LOLOL diagrams

Work and WB ws 4


Discuss Unit 7 review and test


Nail lab – part 3 – calculations, post-lab discussion and particle diagram


Unit 8: Stoichiometry – I (moles and mass)

Introduce BCA tables, Do worksheet 1 in class, WB

Cu-AgNO3 lab pre-lab and part 1

later -Part 2 and allow Ag to dry


HW – daily reflection



Finish Ag lab calculations, board meeting (discuss theor. and % yield, LR)

Review BCA treatment of stoichiometry – how it differs from Dim Anal algorithms

More work on stoichiometry, work and WB ws 2

limiting reactant (LR) problems, ws 3 and extra worksheets on LR, sample LR lab handout; PHET sim on LR


WB ws4

Discuss Unit 8 review and test


Unit 9: Stoichiometry II  (volume and energy)

Review PVTn behavior and KMT

Partial pressure as consequence of P Ķ n, ws 1


HW – daily reflection



Molar volume lab, collect and analyze data, board meeting

Implications of lab, analog to molar mass

Ideal gas law, ws 2


Molarity: solution stoichiometry

Work and WB ws 3


Quantitative treatment of energy in reactions

Heat of Combustion Lab (or do as demo?)

Post-lab discussion; Notes on multiple energy representations and ∆H

Work and WB ws 4

Discuss Unit 9 review and test

Overview of Unit 10 and 11 materials

ABCC post-test

Wrap up : The Story So Far…. (look at ASU and AMTA websites, Unit 1-9 overview doc and modeling resources)

Final thoughts; clean up room; raffle; hugs and good byes


HW – daily reflection




HW – 4 daily reflections and 1 reading reactions due at midnight