Almost everyone has had the experience of smelling something good while it is cooking on the stove even though they’re not standing near the stove. What is smell and how can you smell an object across a room? Something that your nose can identify must be coming from the stove and traveling across the room to you. What is it that comes from the stove and how does it move? The 6th grade IQWST chemistry unit uses the nature of smell, around which the entire unit is organized, to discuss the particle nature of matter, particle motion, phase change, and scientific modeling.
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
The feature uses everyday experience (smelling something good) to discuss the particle nature of matter, particle motion, phase change, and scientific modeling. By bringing real-life experience (nature of smell) into play, the feature draws the student into the activity and helps them place it in a familiar context.
Context of Use:
IQWST, a middle-school science curriculum, uses smell as the prime contextualizer for an entire 6th grade chemistry unit on the particle nature of mature.
Shwartz, Y., Weizman, A., Fortus, D., & Krajcik, J. (2008). The IQWST experience: Using coherence as a design principle for a middle school science curriculum. The Elementary School Journal. In print.