# Chemistry Capstone Essay: One World Essay

## UNIT TEMPLATE: Text-Based STEM Inquiry

This template provides an approach for creating a science investigation that includes reading-focused inquiry to build student science literacy skills. The template was created to support library media specialists and STEM teacher cohorts in year two of the School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning project, led by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management (ISKME) in partnership with Granite State University, New Hampshire, and funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

### Part III: Unit Description:

One World Essay is a chance to discuss how chemistry connects to larger global issues; its benefits and limitations. An understanding of the chemical concepts learned over the course of the year is necessary to understand the wider implications of the chemical and to be able to communicate the information to clearly and concisely in an essay.

For example, if a student were looking at the use of pesticides, the student would first focus on a specific chemical or compound, for example paraquat. The student would then need to understand the underlying affinity of paraquat and its electron structure that allows for paraquat to bind to dopineregic neurons. [a]  The student would need to understand this underlying science and the impact on humans. The student would also, the underlying science of how the compound’s specific role as a pesticide. The student then selects larger world-connections, such as cultural (perhaps looking at migrant workers and their risk of exposure), environmental (perhaps looking at the cost of not using paraquat) and economical (perhaps looking at the costs of using or not using paraquat). So while the science is not the focus, students must have an understanding of the science to discuss the larger world connections.

Using inquiry-focused reading, students will read selection from The Disappearing Spoon to gain an understanding of science essay-writing. Students will then be guided via class and online discussion through a series of local listserv posting that discuss a real-world issue: the spraying of invasive plants in a public nature area. Through the postings, students will examine how science is communicated to the public, the types of sources of science texts (science magazines, science reference sources, academic journals, government publications and websites) and how to evaluate and access the various science texts.

Students will then select their own topic in which to address the essential question:  How does environmental and material chemistry connect to broader societal factors?

Over the course of the unit, students will find and evaluate a variety of texts to grown their knowledge of a particular chemistry-based issue and to connect that issue to broader societal factors including moral, ethical, political, social, environmental and economic.

• NGSS/State STEM Standards
• HS-ETS1-1: Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
• HS-ETS1-3 : Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
• NGSS Crosscutting Concepts (either Patterns or Cause and Effect - Mechanism and Explanation)
• CCSS Science Literacy Standards:
• CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
• CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.6: Analyze the author's purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text, identifying important issues that remain unresolved.
• CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.8: Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.
• CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.9: Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
• CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.

### Part V: Unit Essential Question

How does environmental and material chemistry connect to broader societal factors?

Assignment: Identify an environmental or material chemistry topic and relate it to two of the following categories: moral, ethical, political, social, environmental, economic.

### Part VI: Goals for Using Inquiry:

The ultimate goal for our students when they leave high school, is for them to be informed democratic citizens. Being able to read, understand, and make connections between science and the larger world is an important piece for being an informed citizen whether our students are making health decisions or voting on whether or not to put fluoride in the water supply.  We recognize that in many cases our students will be seeking out their own information and an important skill to practice and understand is how to evaluate and find information.

The goal for using inquiry in this unit is for students to select their own area of research (an element or chemical compound), to develop their own research question in regard to the larger world, to select and evaluate text with the skills introduced in online discussions and sample texts. The science teacher and the media library specialist have selected an anchor text to demonstrate science essay writing, in addition to a variety of different types of science text and provided support for students as they select texts in their own research.

### Part VII: Summative Assessment Description and Rubric

(The summative assessment should assess both science content and literacy skills.)

One World Essay ( 800 +/- 15 words )

One World Essay is a chance to discuss how chemistry connects to larger global issues; its benefits and limitations. An understanding of the chemical concepts learned over the course of the year is necessary to understand the wider implications of the chemical and to be able to communicate the information to clearly and concisely in an essay.

Students must  include 3 of the following:

• Moral  - Personal view of what is right or wrong
• Ethical  - Society’s rules or code of conduct
• Social  - Related to people, groups
• Economic  - Related to profitability (the ability to make money)
• Political  - Relate to government
• Cultural  - Ideas, customs and behaviours of a society
• Environmental  - Human impact on the natural world

Research Paper Rubric

Collaboration

Leading up to the essay, the classes will be guided through the process of thinking about how chemistry connects to larger issues by reading a series of local listserv entries and related resources including, magazine articles, journal articles, blogs and websites. They will answer a series of questions and respond to one another through collaborative technologies. Examples of collaborative technologies that could be used are Visual Classroom, Google Hangouts, and build in discussions in LMS platforms. In addition to having an example of how a chemical compound connects to the larger issues listed above, they will also be learning to evaluate those sources and the information provided.

### Part VIII: Prior Knowledge Needed

Chemistry:

Prior knowledge needed is somewhat dependent on the topic the student chooses and therefore, this assignment is best given toward the end of a Chemistry course.  However, most commonly, students will need to understand: Periodic Trends, Chemical Bonding, Properties of aqueous solutions and acid-based chemistry.

Literacy  Skills:

Knowledge of how information is organized online (databases, websites, etc).

Knowledge of MLA formatting (Works Cited and in-text citations)

### Part IX: Student Learning Objectives

(Breakdown of the unit into discrete units of both science content and literacy skills.)

1. The purpose of this assessment is to understand the interdependence of science in society. You need to be able to:
• Discuss how science is applied and used to solve specific problems in life and society.
• Explore local and global scientific issues and evaluate the interaction between science and the scientific developments with social, economical, political, environmental, cultural, and ethical factors.
1. The student will be able to understand their topic in relation to a combination of the following implications: moral, ethical, social, economic, political and cultural.
2. The student will understand the organization and distribution of information in the sciences (i.e. databases).
3. The student will understand the structure and purpose of different texts related to their environmental or material chemistry topic.
4. The student will be able to evaluate a claim regarding their environmental or material chemistry topic and demonstrate in an annotated bibliography.
5. The student will be able to select and evaluate text from online databases and websites.
6. The student will properly attribute information in their writing by the use of correct MLA citations.
7. The student will understand the importance of attribution (citing) in writing and it’s overall importance within the science community.

### Part XII: Attachment of Student Work Examples

Sample question and answers from Prior-Knowledge Quiz

Visual Classroom Discussion

Visual Classroom Student Interaction

Visual Classroom Wordcloud

Sample Outline

Sample Essay

Sample Essay 2

Part XIII: Teacher and Librarian Reflection on the Implementation of the Lesson

Jessica (LMS): I thought the implementation of our lesson went well. Kevin and I work well together and are both genuinely excited, interested and curious about science, learning and research. I felt that the students picked up on that and that made them more interested and excited to do elements of the lesson. Looking at the science standards, I felt this lesson filled a real hole in our curriculum. Not a lot of time has traditionally been dedicated to reading and evaluating different types of texts in science and so this lesson provided a way to introduce a lot of different types of texts and ask students to not only evaluate those texts, but explain their evaluation and bring together lots of different concepts and ideas that grow out of chemical concepts. The one thing I would suggest would be to introduce different types of science texts (essays, research journals, different types of figures, references sources, etc) over the course so each unit incorporated a text element. Then this essay is really a bringing together the understanding of chemical concepts and science literacy concepts.

Notes:

School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning, Granite State University, Concord, NH, February 2016. Funding provided by IMLS.

[a] re-write to double-check the specific science