## Ultimate STEM Project: What Goes Into Creating a Great STEM lesson?

We were asked to think of an amazing STEM lesson with our group members that we've used in our class. A short summary of the lesson I wanted to share can be found below.

**Leigha has been teaching chemistry for eight years at Kenwood Academy High School in Hyde Park. She majored in chemistry at Spelman College and graduated in 2001. After working in the lab setting for a few years she obtained her master’s degree in science education from New York University.**

This lesson was adapted from Sinking In: Developing a Model for Understanding Density by Jerrid Kruse and Jesse Wilcox. Many of my students have misconceptions about density. While most of them know how to calculate the value of the density of an object, they lack the conceptual understanding about density. In this lesson students form groups to investigate “Why do objects sink or float?” Students begin by making predictions about the “sinkability”of an object based on their prior knowledge. Students often conclude that objects sink or float due to their mass. So, to begin, I place two objects in a tub of water. One of the objects is lighter, but will sink when compared to the object of greater mass. This demo gets students to realize that volume is also a factor in the “sinkability” of an object.

The next phase of the lesson is a student led investigation. Students bring objects to class and gather data on the object’s mass, volume, and “sinkability”. Once they gather this data, they share the data with the class and graph all the data onto a large sheet of paper. The students observe that the objects that float and the objects that sink are in two different clusters. This is when I use probing questions to get students to understand that volume and “sinkability” have an inverse relationship, while mass and “sinkability” have a direct relationship. Students are then asked to develop a formula based on this relationship and that “sinkability” is density. The final phase answers the initial question. Students gather data on the mass, and volume for water and create a line graph on the initial graph. Students are able to determine that the objects that float are below the line while the sinking objects are above the line. This visual representation displays that object’s float and sink based on their density value.

This lesson was adapted from Sinking In: Developing a Model for Understanding Density by Jerrid Kruse and Jesse Wilcox. Many of my students have misconceptions about density. While most of them know how to calculate the value of the density of an object, they lack the conceptual understanding about density. In this lesson students form groups to investigate “Why do objects sink or float?” Students begin by making predictions about the “sinkability”of an object based on their prior knowledge. Students often conclude that objects sink or float due to their mass. So, to begin, I place two objects in a tub of water. One of the objects is lighter, but will sink when compared to the object of greater mass. This demo gets students to realize that volume is also a factor in the “sinkability” of an object.

The next phase of the lesson is a student led investigation. Students bring objects to class and gather data on the object’s mass, volume, and “sinkability”. Once they gather this data, they share the data with the class and graph all the data onto a large sheet of paper. The students observe that the objects that float and the objects that sink are in two different clusters. This is when I use probing questions to get students to understand that volume and “sinkability” have an inverse relationship, while mass and “sinkability” have a direct relationship. Students are then asked to develop a formula based on this relationship and that “sinkability” is density. The final phase answers the initial question. Students gather data on the mass, and volume for water and create a line graph on the initial graph. Students are able to determine that the objects that float are below the line while the sinking objects are above the line. This visual representation displays that object’s float and sink based on their density value.

**STEM Top 5**

After sharing our lesson we developed a list of the top five list. This was a list of important themes we saw within all of our shared lessons. We had so many ideas! Pairing it down to five wasn't easy, but I think we developed a pretty incredible list.