Day 11: Short Timers & Heat of Solution

Our advisement started the day with an important message:

If you value your time in Mosaic, show it with your actions and such.

Our group discussed the nature of our Detox/Airlock time thus far – time getting used to our environment where bells don’t necessarily dictate time management and where our work has focused purpose and real-world connectivity.

Many of our students are beginning to trust us and Mosaic and are learning via exploration and questioning. They are experiencing a shift of sorts as to how they can learn: they don’t have to be told everything or, in the case of science, follow prescribed steps to arrive at a vanilla conclusion. Many are learning that they can “go faster” with an true inquiry approach and that we often start slow to go fast.

Here’s an example:

To gauge interest and experience in science, we asked students to create a short (two minute) silent video communicating a scientific idea or principle to a group of high school students. They had a day to submit their video URL. The video was silent to add a bit of a twist, but also to tie into some of our groups work American Sign Language (ASL) and to potentially empathize with our deaf student and a Mosaic teacher who is also deaf. Following the video playback, students will participate in a seminar on what we can learn from body language (as a life skill and how this might be different if you are deaf). The following video began with short conversation about what acids and bases can do, which somehow translated to chemical reactivity an acid’s interaction with biological molecules like proteins.

(This short video challenge also exposed our students’ video making skills. We have a few amazing students and a few, well, novices. The shaky video above was somewhere in between! Oh, and they struggled to delete the audio prior to the deadline, hence the Mickey Mouse background.)

So, as a follow up to the video, this particular team began asking questions about acid (and base) strength and concentration, which led to an introductory conversation about dissociation and, believe it or not, equilibrium. I learned a new entry point to these topics, which, trust me, they were learning just fine minus two days of notes about acid/base definitions, characteristics, and such. Anyway, they were particularly curious about how to properly and safely prepare solutions, especially those traditionally deemed “dangerous” like acid and basic solutions. They were also curious about diluting from stock solutions and when serial dilutions are called for over one-step, massive dilutions. I certainly won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say, they began calculating dilutions and worked with me to dilute some hydrochloric acid from 6.0M to 3.0M and prepare some 6M sodium hydroxide solution and then dilute it to 3.0M and 1.5M.


They were particularly impressed with the highly exothermic heat of solution of sodium hydroxide. The solution greatly heats as the pellets dissolve and they, of course, monitored its temperature as the stir plate and stir bar did their jobs. They learned how to properly label solutions and where to store them in between uses.

Following their solution prep and a school fire drill, they went to town asking question after question. This #anyqs session involved several students, myself, and my colleague, Kayla. Before we knew it we were writing neutralization equations, ionic and net ionic, and they were “A-ha-ing” as many of the lessons they learned in biology were landing home with our work today. Here’s a picture of Jeremy and Parker looking for patterns in an equation and contemplating the concept of neutrality to me, Kayla, and a few others.

board work

We had to kick them out after school (most of their work took place in the latter part of the last class period of the day) … they are looking to titrate (to standardize) their ~1.5M NaOH solution against an acidic salt tomorrow. Something tells me they’ll enjoy the work – call it a hunch.



This guy, Michael, helped me a lot today as I was tempted to separate some of the Mosaic science from the main project work. I needed a gentle scolding and he didn’t disappoint. He reminded me of some of the words I often use,

“Start slow to go fast.”

Boy was he right as many of our students are loosening into Mosaic and learning that they can learn in an environment that doesn’t always require full classrooms of students listening to the same message at the same time to progress at some sort of a predetermined rate.

Cool. Thanks, Michael.

#silentsciencevideos #mandatoryplanperiods #firedrillexcellence #trusttodetox