Learning about Dimensional Analysis and Stoichiometry
In this lesson, students will learn what dimensional analysis is and why it is so important as they are lead through a guided inquiry activity and read an article from Chem Matters entitled The Crash of Flight 143. Students will be lead through a SMART Notebook lesson in which the students arrive at what the rule is for Dimensional Analysis, critically analyze and look at what is wrong in certain examples and solve dimensional analysis problems on the SMARTBoard.[image right border]
Context for Use
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: High School (9-12)
Description and Teaching Materials
Then you will want to move onto the fourth slide and have some students come up and fix the problem. There is more than one thing that needs fixing, so you can ask student to change one thing, and then have someone else come up and change the next thing. On the fifth slide, have the students look at it and see if they can figure out what the missing piece is and have someone come up and drag it in from the gallery.
The next slide has actual conversion factors on it. Have students come up and drag the appropriate number and unit into the correct spot until you are able to solve the problem. (Note: the numbers are infinite cloned so that when students drag the numbers, they will still remain in their original spot as well) Again, you can have multiple students come up and solve this problem since there are several different steps.
The 7th slide again, allows the students to critically analyze a problem that is already done and you can students come up to make it correct.
After discussing the above slides, there are a couple of slides that review the rules of the game and discuss equalities and labeled rations.
You can use the rest of the slides as practice for the students. I would have them work it in their own notebooks, and then have a few students come up and write the work out on the board.
Provide a worksheet of dimensional analysis for the students, again emphasizing the importance of showing their work appropriately and canceling units when possible.
When you are confident that the students are able to understand how to do dimensional analysis, show the last slide and ask them who needs to do this anyway? Have them read the article the Crash of Flight 143, which is available through Chem Matters and answer the provided questions with the article. (October 1996.)
http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_TRANSITIONMAIN&node_id=1090&use_sec=false&sec_url_var=region1 SMART Notebook File to present material ( PRIVATE FILE 847kB Sep18 08) PDF of Lesson - none interactive in case you don't have SMART Notebook software but want to view the lesson (Acrobat (PDF) PRIVATE FILE 458kB Sep18 08)
Teaching Notes and Tips
In the past when I have taught this lesson, it has been more of a lecture. I gave them the notes and I told them how to do dimensional analysis and then we practiced together. In this lesson, I am having them develop the rules of the game and I'm giving them much more visual and kinesthetic practice than I have in the past with the use of the infinite cloner. I also have not addressed the importance of this other than it will be a really valuable tool in science. I'm now trying to pull in some reading material which will help them with reading strategies as well as see how it can impact people in the real world.