Nails in A Jar

Contributor
Page Keeley
Type Category
Assessment Materials
Types
Assessment Item , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

"Nails in a Jar" is a formative assessment from Page Keeley's Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volume 4. Studens are asked whether the mass of a sealed jar of wet nails would change as the nails rusted. The probe elicits student thinking about both chemical changes and conservation of mass in a closed system. Note: the details of oxidation and the term mass are a secondary level expectations. The term weight may be substituted for better alignment to elementary expectations.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Upper Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

5-PS1-2 Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved.

Clarification Statement: Examples of reactions or changes could include phase changes, dissolving, and mixing that form new substances.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include distinguishing mass and weight.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this assessment probe students are asked to read the scenario about rusting nails and choose which statement they agree with most. They then explain why they think the weight of the nails would or would not change. In order to address this Performance Expectation, students should have experiences measuring a variety of substances before and after changes occur. By planning and conducting investigations similar to the scenario presented, students will be able to collect evidence to confirm or change their thinking. To investigate the probe scenario, students might weigh a jar of wet nails before and after the rust forms. Other possible changes to investigate include measuring ice cubes and melted ice, salt and water before and after mixing, or wet pennies before and after they corrode. Graphs demonstrating that the weight before and after changes occur would lead this resource to more completely meet the Performance Expectation.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Conducting investigations suggested above would provide opportunities for students to collect data.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Conducting investigations suggested above would provide opportunities for students to measure and graph weight. It is important that students understand that air has weight. This can be demonstrated using a balance scale as shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5LT_wfI98w

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
To more fully explore this Core Idea, similar investigations should be conducted for a variety of different materials. Through these investigations students would be able to construct a written explanation, including claims and evidence, that the weight of matter in a system remains the same, even if changes to the matter occur.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This probe asks students to think about conservation of matter in a closed system. This gives the teacher an opportunity to build upon the idea of systems thinking by asking students, What is a system? What makes this investigation a system? In the supporting elements of this probe it is suggested that teacher help the students develop an understanding of open and closed systems. The nails investigation could be done both ways in order to compare the change in the weight in an open vs closed system.

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Student reasoning to address this Crosscutting Concept might be elicited by asking questions such as, What do I need to measure to provide data? What should I use to measure the matter in the jar? (what scale?) e.g. gram, milligram or kilogram? If students are asked to explain their thinking, there is the opportunity to reinforce scale, proportion and quantity. It will be up to the teacher to make those connections explicit.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This probe was created prior to the development of NGSS. However the elements of the Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts work together to help students make sense of the phenomenon of conservation of matter. If the probe is used to launch an investigation, it would build deeper understanding of the dimensions. Common Core Mathematics standards for measurement and data are also addressed.

  • Instructional Supports: The probe can be used to assess students' prior knowledge or it can be used as a summative assessment following investigations. Keeley probes from Uncovering Student Ideas in Science Volume 1("Seedlings in a Jar" and "Ice Cubes in a Bag") may be used to reinforce the ideas in this probe. One way this probe might be differentiated would be the teacher reading the probe aloud or scribing answers if necessary. A student who already has understanding and doesn’t need to go through all the investigations might do some research and find some other examples of conservation of mass in a closed system.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This resource is meant to be a way to assess student understanding either formatively or summatively. The explanation of what is expected of students at different ages helps make this a stronger resource. Observations made as the students conduct and discuss their investigations, and recordings made in their science notebooks provide the teacher with additional assessment information.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: There is no technological component to this resource.