By: EDWARD WANG | Pedagogy Director, PlayMada Games
As teachers across the country implement the Next Generation Science Standards, lesson plans are being written to incorporate Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas…aka the Three Dimensions of Learning.
This month, let’s take a look at a few NGSS Crosscutting Concepts than can be used with the Ions game in Collisions®.
Patterns: As with all of the games in Collisions, there are many patterns for students to uncover in the Ions game. Within the game, students can discover for themselves the pattern for which atoms gain electrons vs. which atoms lose electrons, the connection between the charge of an ion and the number of electrons gained/lost, the trend for ionization energy, and the trend for first, second, and third ionization energies.
One easy way to assess students is to ask them to take a screenshot of a pattern that they discovered in the game and write a description of the pattern/trend.
Cause and Effect: Each one of the patterns in the Ions game identified by students can be further investigated to identify the cause. For example, in Ions Challenge Level 4, there is not enough energy to ionize lithium, but there is enough energy to ionize sodium. What factors account for this difference in ionization energy? Students can use the Ions sandbox to gather more evidence and draw their own conclusions.
Structure and Function: Hopefully students are thinking about the structure of atoms and shielding as they are thinking about ionization energy and ions. To further drive home this connection, students can play the Ions-Atoms connected levels. In these levels (which become available after the player has completed all regular levels in Ions and in Atoms), players must construct their own neutral atoms by building a nucleus, then placing electrons in the appropriate orbitals, ordering their atoms from smallest to largest radii, and finally ionizing them with the available energy in the bank. After completing each connected level, have students reflect on the atomic properties they were focused upon as they built atoms to be ionized.