6. Model Mania

Objective:  Conservation of Matter

Big Idea Application:
During ordinary physical or chemical processes matter can neither be created nor destroyed.  It can only change forms.

The overarching essential questions being considered:

What happens during a chemical reaction?

The essential questions being considered:

How could you use your understanding of mathematical equations, to write a science equation showing that the number of atoms at the start of a reaction will equal the number of atoms at the end?

Approach/ Strategy being applied:

  • Confirmation Inquiry
  • Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, Evaluation- 5E Instructional Model
  • A Version of a Concept Map
  • Evaluation tool from the Poison Project Article (Crawford, 1998).

Standard Addressed: 5b: Students know the idea of atoms explains the conservation of matter.  In chemical reactions the number of atoms stays the same no matter how they are arranged, so their total mass stays the same.


  • Model Mania Student Sheet (attached below)
  • Model Mania Self Assessment
  • Glue
  • Different colored construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Round template for atom (ex:  bottle cap, quarter, etc.)

Anticipatory Set (Hook):

  1. Asks the students whether it sounds like a good deal, if they were to get three
  2. things in exchange for one?
  3. Ask who has a $1 bill?
  4. Have that student come forward and give him/her three quarters for their $1 bill.  
  5. Ask the student if he/she if is happy?
  6. Discuss: Is it hard to accept, when things do not balance out?  
  7. The same is true in science; balance is necessary.

Lesson Plan:

  1. Review terminology- product, reactant, yields
  2. Model Mania Lab Activity: Students will work in groups and design a poster to display 3 balanced chemical equations. (See attached student sheet)
  3. Present projects to the class

Complete self assessment rubric

Contribution to student understanding:
The "nature of science" states that, although scientific knowledge is empirically based, it nevertheless involves human imagination and creativity (Lederman & Lederman, 2004).  This lesson asks the students to use their creativity to make a display that demonstrates a scientific concept.  The understanding they gain should also help them to describe and explain the results of chemical changes seen in nature.  Additionally, it helps them determine answers to questions about everyday experiences.

Attachment Size
ModelManiaStudentSheet.doc 29 KB