This article first presents a cookbook activity that leads students step-by-step through determining the density of a gas produced in a chemical reaction. This activity is problematic for two reasons. First, students may simply follow the provided directions without really understanding the investigative set-up and procedure. Second, the cookbook activity ignores the difficulties students have accepting that gases have mass and that mass is conserved in chemical reactions. I illustrate how the activity may be modified to address the common misconception that gases have no mass, and develop a deeper understanding of conservation of mass. This article promotes National Science Education Content Standards A and B and Iowa Teaching Standards 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Iowa Science Teachers Journal
© Copyright 2008 by the Iowa Academy of Science
Kurtt, Christopher J.
"Tracking Mass: Putting the Thinking in Students’ Hands Leads to Deeper Conceptual Understanding of Conservation of Mass,"
Iowa Science Teachers Journal: Vol. 35
, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/istj/vol35/iss1/3