The Subatomic Particles Concept Builder is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Concept Builder can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

A typical objective in the beginning of many chemistry courses is to interpret the isotope notation for the atom. Such a notation or set of symbols communicates the elemental symbol that identifies the element, the atomic number, and the mass number. If the particle is an ion, then the charge on the ion is also communicated. Such an objective is typically addressed when the structure of the atom is introduced. The notation communicates information about the number of the three subatomic particles present in the atom - the protons, neutrons, and electrons. This Concept Builder focuses on the task of interpretting isotope symbols in terms of the information that they yield about the number of subatomic particles present in an isotope.

There are three difficulty levels in the Concept Builder - ApprenticeMaster, and Wizard. Each difficulty level involves the completion of a table of data associated with the isotopes of an element. Success involves accurately filling in the missing cells of the table. The learner can check a calculation as many times as needed. But every miss is counted and a Health Report is displayed once the table has been completed. The formula for determining a Health Rating is shown on a separate page. Students can repeat the exercise as many times as needed to improve their grade above a minimum-required level. 

The most valuable (and most overlooked) aspect of this Concept Builder is the Help Me! feature. Each question group is accompanied by a Help page that discusses the specifics of the question. This Help feature transforms the activity from a question-answering activity into a concept-building activity. The student who takes the time to use the Help pages can be transformed from a guesser to a learner and from an unsure student to a confident student. The "meat and potatoes" of the Help pages are in the sections titled "How to Think About This Situation:" Students need to be encouraged by teachers to use the Help Me! button and to read this section of the page. A student that takes time to reflect upon how they are answering the question and how an expert would think about the situation can transform their naivete into expertise. 



The Health Rating:

Students can complete as much of the table as they wish before checking their answers. And they can check their answers as many times as they wish. Feedback regarding the correctness of their answers is immediate and provided using a color-coding system. Correct answers are displayed in a table cell with a green background; these correct answers become locked and cannot be changed. Incorrect answers are displayed in a table cell with a red background. Each time students check their answers, the number of missed answers is determined. A running tally is kept of the number of misses. When a student accurately completes the table, a Health rating is displayed on the screen. The Health rating is dependent upon the number of misses. Formulas for computing the Health rating are discussed on a separate page. The Health rating is also displayed on the Main Menu screen for any completed difficulty level. A student can always repeat a difficulty level in order to improve their Health rating for that level. The best Health rating is always displayed on the Main Menu screen below the trophy for that difficulty level.

We leave it to the discretion of individual teachers as to what they wish to do with the Health rating information. We recognize that there will be some teachers who feel most comfortable with their students in simply requiring that a difficulty level be completed and  trophy be earned. Other teachers may wish to require completion of a difficulty level with a minimum Health rating. For instance, such teachers may require that each difficulty level be completed with a 70% or higher Health rating. Still other teachers may tie the Health rating into a grade or allow a homework pass for completing an activity that exceeds a 90% Health rating. Decisions as to what to do with the Health rating are best left for individual teachers who know their students the best.

As of this writing, the Health Percent is not saved to or retrieved from the Task Tracker Database if using the Concept Builder as a logged-in user.



Follow Us