Chemical Reactions9:02 PM
Today I learned about "Chemical Reactions" in science, an interesting topic and one I was completely befuddled by. The terrible thing was, this always seems to happen; I learn about something interesting in science, think I understand it, and find that I can hardly answer questions on it, let alone explain the concepts. I find myself tripping over words like "exothermic" and "endothermic" while attempting to explain what they mean. So I wanted to think of a new way that I could understand the material better--and why I wasn't understanding it in the first place!
As an author and avid history buff, subjects like language arts and social studies have, in general, been fairly smooth rides for me. I'm able to read the information quickly, remember it, and put it to use. But the problem with speed-reading your science text is that you miss words like "exothermic" and "endothermic" or exactly what they mean. That's one thing I've told myself: read slower and more carefully. It helps me catch more of the important information--information that sometimes hides itself in nooks and crannies that my impatient eyes skip over.
Another thing that may sometimes trip me up is the abstractness of it all. Since I'm learning about Physical Science--which, as far as I can see, is the study of really tiny things (atoms and the like) and stuff that's everywhere (oxygen, anyone?)--which need to be represented by models or pictures or lengthy explanations. On the other hand, in a course like Earth or Life Science, you can point up to space or look at a leaf and see planets and photosynthesis for yourself. Who looks at table salt and says, "This is NaCl, an ionic compound of sodium and chloride?" Or "The atoms in that gas are zooming around pretty fast today." I can't see the atoms in that gas, people. I probably can't even see the gas.
But that's enough grousing about why I wasn't understanding the topic--what about actually solving the problem? One thing that helped was reading the text aloud. Instead of just scanning it (which I'm prone to do if I'm reading silently), reading aloud forced me to slow down a little, to think about the pronunciation of the word and what each sentence I read really meant. I summarized out loud better than I did in my head. My mom was on hand, so I explained the concept to her. Having someone to listen to you and bounce ideas off of can be very helpful. Another thing I did was pull out my Pulse smartpen and take notes while reading out loud (recording both the notes and the audio). It was very helpful for synthesizing information. However, as I listened to the recording as it played back, I was surprised by how much I stumbled over certain words. If you listen to one of my videos where I'm teaching kids about reading and writing, and compare it to my science recording, you'll notice the difference right away--when I'm talking about chemical reactions, I sound hesitant and unsure about some of the things I'm saying. Oh well, I thought. It's a start. It's a start which I hope will result in some long-term progress.
After finishing my recording and a review worksheet, I took the lesson assessment. And guess what? I must have understood my "Chemical Reactions" pretty well, because I got 100%.