Doug Ragan (Hudsonville High School, USA)
Research indicates that students have several misconceptions associated with the dissolving of ionic compounds in water. Additionally, even after instruction, most students have difficulty providing a correct particulate level description of what happens when an ionic compound dissolves in water. This activity, created as part of the Target Inquiry Program at Grand Valley State University, addresses misconceptions by identifying students’ initial ideas about what happens when a salt dissolves, challenging these ideas by comparing these ideas with particulate animations of NaCl dissolving in water, and testing their revised understanding with an additional interactive simulation. The guiding questions in this activity are designed to focus students on the role of the solvent in the dissolving process and the difference between the makeup of atoms and ions of the same element. This presentation will include an overview of the activity, sample student data, and facilitation tips.