Creating Magical Demonstrations to Elicit Analytical Writing in the Middle School Classroom

Phil Carver, Science, James Martin Middle School

Final Unit (PDF)

Implementing Common Core Standards

This curriculum unit includes dramatic demonstrations, as though by magic, to engage the middle school student in the areas of chemistry and physical science. This unit has suggestions for creation of lesson plans, magical demonstrations, and writing prompts and exercises to promote engagement and analysis of chemistry experiments through creative writing. The Law of Conservation of Mass and evidences of chemical changes, and balancing elementary chemical equations are showcased in this paper. The creation of hydrogen gas through the use of a HHO generator, which can be easily and cheaply made, as well as color changes and precipitates created with the use of common chemicals and supplies found in the science laboratory are demonstrated and discussed. These demonstrations and activities can be used in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, dependent upon the school systems core curriculum and state standards. The typical inner city middle school student is targeted in this unit. An emphasis is placed upon analytical writing and inclusion of writing prompts to assist the teacher in promoting literacy to inner-city students in lower than grade reading levels. The demonstrations and lessons in this unit can be implemented with very few resources and a minimal cost to the teacher. Hopefully, this curriculum unit can be of use to a middle school science teacher struggling to find experiments and demonstrations to engage or hook students in today’s middle schools.