Designing Assessments in Physical Science for the Next Generation

Science Standards
Unpacking Chemical Reactions

Step 1: Select Performance Expectations
MS-PS1-1 Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple
molecules and extended structures.
MS-PS1-2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances
before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical
reaction has occurred.
MS-PS1-5. Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of
atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.

Step 2: Unpacking Performance Expectation (DCIs, Practices,
Crosscutting Concepts)
1. Unpacking Core Ideas
Component -- PS1.B. Chemical Reaction
Element:

Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the
atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules,
and those new substances have different properties from those of the reactants.
Elaboration of Ideas
Macroscopic level:

A chemical reaction is the change of a substance(s) into a new one that
has a different chemical identity. It is usually observed through physical effects,
such as the formation of precipitate or gas, a color change, or heat transfer.
However, the confirmation of chemical change can only be validated by analysis of
the properties of the products.
1.
When substances react
chemically, one or more new substances are formed.
2.
New substances formed
are the products of a chemical reaction.
3.
It is possible for a single
substance to undergo a chemical reaction.
4.
Liquids, solids, or gases
can be reactants or products in chemical reactions.

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When substances undergo chemical reactions, the total mass of all the
substances will always remain the same.
1.
The total mass of the substances before and after
they interact is equal. In other words, the mass is conserved.
Atomic level:

A chemical reaction is a process whereby the atoms that make up the molecules of
the original substances rearrange into new molecules, so that the types and number
of atoms do not change.
1.
New substance are made
of the same kinds of atoms as the original substances
2.
The number of atoms
before and after the substances interact is equal.
Boundary
1.
Students are expected to know that the original substances in a
chemical reaction are called reactants and the resulting substances are called
products but they will not be assessed on these definitions.
2.
Students are not expected to know the term “bond” or how
chemical bonds are formed or broken during chemical reactions.
3.
Students are not expected to know the difference between
“weight” and “mass.”
Prior-Knowledge
Students developed these ideas in 5th Grade:
5-PS1-4 Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or
more substances results in new substances.
Student Challenges
1.
Students understood that chemical reactions involve liquids only
and that a reaction always happens when two liquids combine.
2.
Students thought that the total mass decreases during a
chemical reaction when a gas is produced (Ozmen et al, 2003), or a solid
dissolved in a liquid (Stavy, 1990; Ozmen et al, 2003).
3.
Students thought that the total mass increases during a
precipitation reaction (Baker et al, 1999; Ozmen et al, 2003).

2.

Unpacking Practice

Developing and using models

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1.
Develop or modify a model (based on evidence) to match what
happens if a variable or component of a system is changed.
2.
Develop and/or revise a model to show the relationships
among variables, including those that are not observable but predict
observable phenomena.
3.
Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe
phenomena.

Scientific model: a scientific model is an abstract, simplified, representation of a
system or phenomena that makes its central features explicit and visible and can be
used to generate explanations and predictions. It includes diagrams, physical
replicas, mathematical representations analogies, and computer simulations. Our
model framework includes three components: component, relationship, and
connection.


Component: Model includes identification and specification of appropriate and
necessary components, including both visible and invisible.
Relationship: Model includes representations or descriptions indicating how various
components within the model are related and interact with each other.
Connection: Model is used to explain or predict phenomena or specific aspects of
phenomena.
Prior-Knowledge
In Grades 3-5, building and revising simple models and using models to represent
events and design solutions.
1.
Identify limitations of models.
2.
Collaboratively develop and/or revise a model based on
evidence that shows the relationships among variables for frequent and regular
occurring events.
3.
Develop a model using an analogy, example, or abstract
representation to describe a scientific principle or design solution.
4.
Develop and/or use models to describe and/or predict
phenomena.
5.
Develop a diagram or simple physical prototype to convey a
proposed object, tool, or process.
6.
Use a model to test cause and effect relationships or
interactions concerning the functioning of a natural or designed system.
Student challenges
1.
The predictive, interpretive, and analytic aspects of models
often are ignored (Ost, 1987).
2.
Students tend to view models primarily as physical copies of
phenomena rather than as tools in the service of theory construction and testing
(Grosslight et al., 1991).
3.
Students struggle to coordinate their understanding of scientific
phenomena and representations of those phenomena (Rappoport & Ashkenazi,
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2008).
4.
Students have difficulty explaining how models including
diagrams and illustrations can be used to explain observed macroscopic
phenomena (Stieff, 2011).
Constructing Explanation and Designing Solutions
1. Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained
from multiple sources (including the students’ own experiments) consistent with
scientific knowledge, principles, and theories.
2. Apply scientific reasoning to show why the data or evidence is adequate for the
explanations or conclusions.

Scientific Explanation:
This is a written or oral response to a question that requires students to analyze
data and interpret that data with regard to scientific knowledge. Our explanation
framework includes three components: claim, evidence, and reasoning.
● Claim: a testable statement or conclusion that answers the original question.
● Evidence : scientific data that supports the student’s claim. This data can come
from an investigation that students complete or from another source, such as
observations, reading material, archived data, or other sources of information. The
data needs to be both appropriate and sufficient to support the claim.
● Reasoning : a justification that shows why the data counts as evidence to support
the claim and includes appropriate scientific principles. The reasoning ties in the
scientific background knowledge or scientific theory that justifies making the claim
and choosing the appropriate evidence.

Prior-Knowledge
In Grades 3-5, students use evidence in constructing explanations that specify
variables that describe and predict phenomena.
1.
2.
solution
3.

Construct an explanation of observed relationships.
Use evidence to construct or support an explanation or design a
to a problem.
Identify the evidence that supports particular points in an explanation

Student challenges
1.
Students often had difficulty supporting their scientific claims (Sadler,
2004).
2.
Students provided with more data than appropriate for the evidence
for a particular claim had difficulty in differentiating between appropriate and
inappropriate evidence (McNeill & Krajcik, 2008).

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3.
Students had difficulty providing reasoning for why they chose the
evidence (Bell & Linn, 2000).

3. Unpacking Crosscutting Concepts
Energy and Matter

Tracking how energy and matter flows into, out of, and within systems helps in
understanding a system’s behavior.

1. Matter is conserved because atoms are conserved in physical and chemical
processes.
2. Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion
and/or cycling of matter.
3. Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of
motion).
4. The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or
natural system.

Prior-Knowledge
In Grades 3-5, students learn matter is made of particles and energy can be
transferred in various ways and between objects. Students observe the
conservation of matter by tracking matter flows and cycles before and after
processes and recognizing the total weight of substances does not change.
1. Matter is made of particles.
2. Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects.
3. Matter flows and cycles can be tracked in terms of the weight of the substances
before and after a process occurs.
4. The total weight of the substances does not change. This is what is meant by
conservation of matter. Matter is transported into, out of, and within systems.
Student challenges
1. The relationship between matter, forces and energy is difficult for students to
explain and apply (Boo, 1998; Teichert & Stacy, 2002; Taber, 2009).

Step 3: Developing Learning Performances (LPs)
LP C-7: Students should be able to construct an explanation to show that in a
chemical reaction, the total amount of matter does not change, therefore mass is
conserved.
LP C-8: Students should be able to construct a model to show that the total
number of atoms do not change after reaction, therefore mass is conserved.

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LP C-9: Students should be able to provide an argument that a chemical reaction
has occurred using arrangement of atoms in molecule.

Step 4: Further specifications of the Learning Performance (LP)
LP C-7: Students should be able to construct an explanation to show that in a
chemical reaction, the total amount of matter does not change, therefore mass is
conserved.
DCI
PS1.B. Chemical reaction

In a chemical
process, the atoms that
make up the original
substances are
regrouped into different
molecules

The total
number of each type of
atom is conserved, and
thus the mass does not
change.

Practice
Construct an
Explanation: Claim,
Evidence, and
Reasoning.

CCC
Energy and Matter:
Matter is conserved
because atoms are
conserved in physical
and chemical processes.

Evidence
Students’ explanations should include:
Claim:
The total amount of matter does not change in a chemical
reaction.
Evidence: The products have the same mass as the reactants.
Reasoning: In a chemical reaction, the products have the same mass as the
reactants or mass is conserved so the total amount of matter does not
change. Atoms of an element have the same mass. The mass of one
element are different from other elements.
Additional Knowledge, Skills, and Ability
1.
Students know that molecules are built from groups of atoms.
2.
Molecules of a substance have their own characteristic properties and
formula that are different from other substances. All molecules of a substance
are the same.
3.
Atoms of an element have the same mass and properties. The mass
and properties of one element are different from other elements.
Characteristic Task Features
1.
Task presents simple chemical reaction in which simple molecules
react.

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2.
Task includes evidence of noticeable new physical or chemical
properties.
3.
Task includes evidence that mass is conserved.
4.
Task will not include the use of atomic masses, balancing symbolic
equations, or intermolecular forces.
Variable Task Features
1.
Give a variety of simple chemical reactions to show the mass is
conserved in all chemical reactions.
2.
For simple chemical reactions, changes should be easy to observe,
such as producing gas, forming precipitation, and changing color.

Step 5: Generating Items
LP C-7-1 A model shows what happens before and after the combustion of
methane. Write a scientific explanation about the expected total mass before and
after the chemical reaction occurs.

LP C-7-2 Based on what is shown in this model, write a scientific explanation
supporting a claim that a chemical reaction has occurred or not occurred.

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