Phase I
iImages 
The two quotes (Carl Sagan and O. Henry) speak to the nature of science, specifically the journey to find out about the unknown. Students seem to think that science has a finite amount of answers and theories, when, in fact, what we do not know is infinite. Science is the journey of discovering the unknown. My ImagineIT project will challenge students to think beyond the known and to discover the unknown through conceptual discussion about a concept.

iVideo 
My ImagineIT project goal is to improve student conceptual understanding so they can communicate their molecular level understanding of a concept. I will be focusing on topics that have a mathematical component because I find that my students simplify a concept down to a “plugging and chugging” into an equation. As a result, my students rely on a math equation and numbers, but it lends itself to computation errors and the inability to evaluate if an answer is logical.
The iVideo shows a popular chemistry demonstration related to gas laws. I have done this demonstration with my students and had an inclass discussion. They could use their understanding of the relationship between temperature and volume to predict what would happen, but students would struggle with explaining the demonstration on a molecular level. In order to achieve my ImagineIT project goal, I will integrate tenets of a blended classroom and increase the amount of discussions in class. The purpose of using a blended classroom is so students can explore and work on the math component at home through video lectures and guided practice problems. Thus, leaving more class time for students to discuss what is happening on the molecular level and to focus on how to communicate using science terms. 
Phase II
The ImagineIT project will be designed to target students in introductory chemistry at King College Prep HS. The class will compose of mostly of sophomores (grade 10) and a small amount (~10 students) from other grades. In the upcoming school year, I anticipate having 5 classes of the same level of introductory chemistry and will implement my ImagineIT project in all classes. I will meet the needs of the students in each class by varying the strategies and technology used to meet the goals (ability grouping and accommodating for students without access to technology tools outside of class). The starting lesson in this project will be on density, which will be covered in the first month of school (September). I anticipate the implementation of the project (including feature activities and formative and summative assessments) will take one week (5  50 minute period classes). I plan on continuing the project to include other mathbased concepts such as specific heat and gas laws later in the school year.
The ultimate goal of my teaching is to for students demonstrate a deep understanding of a chemistry concept (conceptual and mathbased) by making connections to real world applications and communicating their understanding through various media and modes. Typically, my students understand density as being a math equation: density is mass over volume. However, they do not grasp the dynamics of mass and volume in density and (the amount of the object does not affect the density). Additionally, I want my students to become better at communicating their understanding by using proper science terminology and exploring different media tools to do so.
I plan on using a few techniques to have students develop their conceptual understanding (as opposed to mathematical) of the concept. Specifically, for density, I will have students plot the volume and mass of their sample on a class graph to show the relationship of density and if the object will float or sink in water. The reason for using this activity is to combat a common misunderstandings students have about a small object floating in water (because it is lighter) or a large object sinks in water (because it is heavier). By developing a class graph, students will have to collaborate and discuss the results with each other to come to a conclusion. By varying the sizes and mass of the object, it will allow students to rationalize the concept of density as depending on the ratio, not just the mass or the volume. By the conclusion of the activity, students will be expected to predict when an object will float or sink and explain why. The performance of understanding will be designed to have students analyze data collected, make claims based on the data, and communicate their finding. The technology tools (lab equipment, graphing tools) will be used to have students understand the concept of density through inquirybased activity (developing understanding by analyzing data/models).
Additionally, to get students to think critically about the information presented to them, I will use techniques from a blended classroom. Students will analyze a video I created to identify the chemistry errors (done outside of class) to engage in a class discussion to discuss their findings from the video. By having students analyze the video, it doesn’t allow them to be passive viewers, which can be a downfall of having students watch videos outside of the classroom. This technique is designed to have students evaluate the information presented to them (even if it a trusted source), process their understanding of the concept, and communicate their “stance” on the concept with their peers. The strength of this particular activity is the pedagogical approach of tackling common misconceptions head on through the use of technology, an errorladen video. By having students identify the errors and begin to think about how to explain why it is an error, it will get them to internalize the concept of density beyond a simple definition or math equation. The activity will also focus on developing their “science voice” by having them make claims based on evidence and use proper science terminology when engaging in discussions with other students.
The ultimate goal of my teaching is to for students demonstrate a deep understanding of a chemistry concept (conceptual and mathbased) by making connections to real world applications and communicating their understanding through various media and modes. Typically, my students understand density as being a math equation: density is mass over volume. However, they do not grasp the dynamics of mass and volume in density and (the amount of the object does not affect the density). Additionally, I want my students to become better at communicating their understanding by using proper science terminology and exploring different media tools to do so.
I plan on using a few techniques to have students develop their conceptual understanding (as opposed to mathematical) of the concept. Specifically, for density, I will have students plot the volume and mass of their sample on a class graph to show the relationship of density and if the object will float or sink in water. The reason for using this activity is to combat a common misunderstandings students have about a small object floating in water (because it is lighter) or a large object sinks in water (because it is heavier). By developing a class graph, students will have to collaborate and discuss the results with each other to come to a conclusion. By varying the sizes and mass of the object, it will allow students to rationalize the concept of density as depending on the ratio, not just the mass or the volume. By the conclusion of the activity, students will be expected to predict when an object will float or sink and explain why. The performance of understanding will be designed to have students analyze data collected, make claims based on the data, and communicate their finding. The technology tools (lab equipment, graphing tools) will be used to have students understand the concept of density through inquirybased activity (developing understanding by analyzing data/models).
Additionally, to get students to think critically about the information presented to them, I will use techniques from a blended classroom. Students will analyze a video I created to identify the chemistry errors (done outside of class) to engage in a class discussion to discuss their findings from the video. By having students analyze the video, it doesn’t allow them to be passive viewers, which can be a downfall of having students watch videos outside of the classroom. This technique is designed to have students evaluate the information presented to them (even if it a trusted source), process their understanding of the concept, and communicate their “stance” on the concept with their peers. The strength of this particular activity is the pedagogical approach of tackling common misconceptions head on through the use of technology, an errorladen video. By having students identify the errors and begin to think about how to explain why it is an error, it will get them to internalize the concept of density beyond a simple definition or math equation. The activity will also focus on developing their “science voice” by having them make claims based on evidence and use proper science terminology when engaging in discussions with other students.
Phase III
Identify Desired Results
The goal of my ImagineIT project is to develop a deep understanding of a concept, beyond being able to use a math equation. My previous experience with teaching mathbased concepts is that students believe they understand a concept because they can choose the right equation and get the correct number answer. The conceptual key idea that will be tied to the concepts with the ImagineIT project (density, gas laws) is that matter is made out of tiny particles (atoms) or groups of particles (molecules), these particles are constantly moving, have mass, and take up space.
Chemistry is the study of matter and its behaviors. This discipline exists as an attempt to explain behaviors of atoms and molecules through development of conceptual models. The essential knowledge base of chemistry is (1) matter is made of atoms and (2) theories are constantly being tested and revised because (3) we cannot see atoms and molecules easily. Although there are powerful electron scanning microscopes, which can produce images of the surface of atoms, they are essentially unavailable to chemistry students and does not provide an image of the behaviors and interactions of atoms. The methods of developing chemistry knowledge involves developing and testing models to explain observations (experimentation, making claims, and providing evidence). Additionally, since students have prior experiences with chemistry in the world around them, there is a possibility they have developed misconceptions. A difficult, but effective way to learn chemistry is to address these misconceptions and correct them in light of evidence. Similarly, and equally effective, is teaching chemistry by having students construct their understanding through inquirybased learning activities. The forms of representing knowledge in chemistry are developing conceptual models to support observations (and using those models to make predictions) and communicating understanding by using proper terminology through various modes (i.e., discussion, creating a product).
Chemistry is the study of matter and its behaviors. This discipline exists as an attempt to explain behaviors of atoms and molecules through development of conceptual models. The essential knowledge base of chemistry is (1) matter is made of atoms and (2) theories are constantly being tested and revised because (3) we cannot see atoms and molecules easily. Although there are powerful electron scanning microscopes, which can produce images of the surface of atoms, they are essentially unavailable to chemistry students and does not provide an image of the behaviors and interactions of atoms. The methods of developing chemistry knowledge involves developing and testing models to explain observations (experimentation, making claims, and providing evidence). Additionally, since students have prior experiences with chemistry in the world around them, there is a possibility they have developed misconceptions. A difficult, but effective way to learn chemistry is to address these misconceptions and correct them in light of evidence. Similarly, and equally effective, is teaching chemistry by having students construct their understanding through inquirybased learning activities. The forms of representing knowledge in chemistry are developing conceptual models to support observations (and using those models to make predictions) and communicating understanding by using proper terminology through various modes (i.e., discussion, creating a product).
Determining Acceptable Evidence
Introductory Performance  During the inquirybased lab activity, students will be given a sample of an object. They will measure the volume and mass of the object and test if the object floats or sinks in water. To demonstrate their understanding of density, students should be able to calculate the density of an object with volume and mass measurements. A challenge for students will to be find the volume of an odd shape object using water displacement. The initial assessment will test if students can measure volume and mass and calculate density. Students will be assessed by the instructor during the lab activity and immediate feedback will be given when students check in with the instructor before moving onto the next phase of the lab activity.
Guided Inquiry Performance  With the volume and mass data, students will plot their data on a class scatter plot graph, using specific marks indicating if the object floated or sunk in water. From the scatter plot, students will be expected to determine the density of water based on the density of objects that float or sink when placed in water. Additionally, students should understand that no matter the size or shape of the sample of a particular substance, the density will be the same. I will assess students on that conceptual understanding (density of a substance is constant) by having students answer postlab questions. Students will receive written feedback on their lab report.
Culminating Performance  The last assignment of the density unit will be for students to watch a video on density with many errors, identify the errors, explain why it is an error, and correct the statements. This assignment will be given at the end of the unit and will be used as a summative assessment, in addition to a traditional unit test. If students have a deep understanding of density, they should be able to identify the errors and explain why. Students can choose what product they want to create to list the errors in the video. Students will assess each other’s assignments and give feedback to revise their product before making a final submission for the instructor to evaluate.
Guided Inquiry Performance  With the volume and mass data, students will plot their data on a class scatter plot graph, using specific marks indicating if the object floated or sunk in water. From the scatter plot, students will be expected to determine the density of water based on the density of objects that float or sink when placed in water. Additionally, students should understand that no matter the size or shape of the sample of a particular substance, the density will be the same. I will assess students on that conceptual understanding (density of a substance is constant) by having students answer postlab questions. Students will receive written feedback on their lab report.
Culminating Performance  The last assignment of the density unit will be for students to watch a video on density with many errors, identify the errors, explain why it is an error, and correct the statements. This assignment will be given at the end of the unit and will be used as a summative assessment, in addition to a traditional unit test. If students have a deep understanding of density, they should be able to identify the errors and explain why. Students can choose what product they want to create to list the errors in the video. Students will assess each other’s assignments and give feedback to revise their product before making a final submission for the instructor to evaluate.
Plan Learning Experience and Instruction
Context
I teach Chemistry at a selectiveenrollment high school with a predominately AfricanAmerican student population. My students arrive from many different elementary schools, therefore, they come with various science backgrounds. To get to know my students and their learning styles, I have students complete a student survey and take a learning styles inventory to get to know them. From my past experience with teaching mathbased concepts, my students quickly learn how to use the density equation to calculate density, volume, or mass. In previous years, I would determine if a student understood the concept of density based on their ability to use a math equation. With the implementation of this project, I will focus on building a deeper understanding of the density concept to go beyond just using an equation. I will use technology tools like lab equipment and videos to create meaningful learning activities for my students. I have access to enough lab equipment for each group of 4 students. Also, most students have access to streaming video sites from their smartphone outside of school and have access to computers with Internet access in the media center after school. This is the first time I will be creating videos and expecting students to produce a product for one of the summative projects at the end of the unit. I believe I will have to be flexible and constantly revise my expectations of final products as the unit progresses.
Content
I want my students to learn how to calculate the density and to able to determine the density of an object from volume and mass measurements. A challenging concept I want students to learn that density is the ratio of mass and volume and the density of a substance is the same no matter the size of the sample. The problems that arise when learning about density is that students will incorrectly explain that an object will float or sink in water based on the volume or mass, not density. Another challenge for students will be to communicate their understanding of density using the proper terminology. Based on my previous experience with students, they struggle to use the correct allied terms and use details (defining ‘it” and “thing”) when describing a concept.
Pedagogy/Technology
I plan on using direct instruction to teach students the definition of density (the ratio of mass to volume) and how to take volume and mass measurements. This will be the most effective pedagogical approach because it will be the foundation for student to build their further understanding. For students to develop deeper understanding by determining when an object floats or sinks in water, I will plan a lab experiment for students to calculate the density of an object from volume and mass measurement. A lab experiment is the most appropriate approach because many of my students learn best through kinesthetic activities. Students will combine their individual data points with their classmates on a class scatter plot. The collection of data will allow students to develop a conclusion about when an object will float or sink in water. Lastly, I will use the pedagogical strategy of flipped mastery by creating a video about density with many errors. I will ask students to review the video on their own and identify the errors in the video and to correct them. This particular approach is appropriate because it brings the most common misconceptions front and center for students to think about. By having students view the video on their own, it will give them the opportunity to rewind the video and time to review their notes to complete the assignment. The technology I will be using in this unit will be lab equipment for the lab activity and video (and appropriate devices to access the video).
I teach Chemistry at a selectiveenrollment high school with a predominately AfricanAmerican student population. My students arrive from many different elementary schools, therefore, they come with various science backgrounds. To get to know my students and their learning styles, I have students complete a student survey and take a learning styles inventory to get to know them. From my past experience with teaching mathbased concepts, my students quickly learn how to use the density equation to calculate density, volume, or mass. In previous years, I would determine if a student understood the concept of density based on their ability to use a math equation. With the implementation of this project, I will focus on building a deeper understanding of the density concept to go beyond just using an equation. I will use technology tools like lab equipment and videos to create meaningful learning activities for my students. I have access to enough lab equipment for each group of 4 students. Also, most students have access to streaming video sites from their smartphone outside of school and have access to computers with Internet access in the media center after school. This is the first time I will be creating videos and expecting students to produce a product for one of the summative projects at the end of the unit. I believe I will have to be flexible and constantly revise my expectations of final products as the unit progresses.
Content
I want my students to learn how to calculate the density and to able to determine the density of an object from volume and mass measurements. A challenging concept I want students to learn that density is the ratio of mass and volume and the density of a substance is the same no matter the size of the sample. The problems that arise when learning about density is that students will incorrectly explain that an object will float or sink in water based on the volume or mass, not density. Another challenge for students will be to communicate their understanding of density using the proper terminology. Based on my previous experience with students, they struggle to use the correct allied terms and use details (defining ‘it” and “thing”) when describing a concept.
Pedagogy/Technology
I plan on using direct instruction to teach students the definition of density (the ratio of mass to volume) and how to take volume and mass measurements. This will be the most effective pedagogical approach because it will be the foundation for student to build their further understanding. For students to develop deeper understanding by determining when an object floats or sinks in water, I will plan a lab experiment for students to calculate the density of an object from volume and mass measurement. A lab experiment is the most appropriate approach because many of my students learn best through kinesthetic activities. Students will combine their individual data points with their classmates on a class scatter plot. The collection of data will allow students to develop a conclusion about when an object will float or sink in water. Lastly, I will use the pedagogical strategy of flipped mastery by creating a video about density with many errors. I will ask students to review the video on their own and identify the errors in the video and to correct them. This particular approach is appropriate because it brings the most common misconceptions front and center for students to think about. By having students view the video on their own, it will give them the opportunity to rewind the video and time to review their notes to complete the assignment. The technology I will be using in this unit will be lab equipment for the lab activity and video (and appropriate devices to access the video).
Problematizing My ImagineIT
Dilemma 1  AssessmentI want to use varied assessment tools as formative and summative checkpoints throughout the unit. For example, I plan to use Plickers and performance tasks so students can demonstrate their mastery of the skills and knowledge gained throughout the unit. However, my students will be expected to take pen and paper, multiplechoice standardized tests. My dilemma is the tugofwar I have with designing assessments to prepare them for these standardized tests, which will determine their postsecondary path, or to create assessments that allow them to demonstrate their understanding as it aligns to the nature of science, which is experimenting, analyzing, and taking risks.
Possible solution: I have designed my questions to use higher order thinking skills, which are needed on the standardized tests, but I fear my students will not see the connection between the two assessments because they take on different forms. 
Dilemma 2  StudentsI have some students who are already behind on their progress in my class because of excessive absences. My dilemma is how do continue to challenge my students when they have missed many days of class and have not been fully exposed to practices I have put in place in my class to ensure my students can be successful. For example, I design many collaborative activities because I believe students learn best when working with each other and it is the nature of science to work with other scientists. How do I allow these students to still participate and learn from their peers if they are not always present?
Possible solution: I have asked these students to join lab groups with students who I believe can work with them to catch them up on what has happened. However, I do not want to rely solely on these students and I do not want to deter the student who is behind if they do not understand. 
Phase 5  Conferring with Colleagues and Students
When asking for feedback, I showed the teachers and students the worksheet I created for the density activity in which students measured the volume and mass of various blocks (made of different materials). Then the students graph the mass and volume of the block and mark if the block float or sink when put into water. There were a series of scaffolding questions to get students to develop an understanding of density.
When conferring with my colleagues, a teacher (special ed science) commented on how I was challenging students by having them formulate relationships from the graph. Another teacher (chemistry) noticed that the questions increased in difficulty and spanned multiple higher order thinking skills. The same teacher added that the students might find the activity offputting because of the difficulty level of the questions and how in depth the questions are about density even though the students would not have be taught the concept yet. After reflecting on the feedback from my colleagues, I have decided to keep the difficulty level of the questions to challenge the students and because I think my students are capable of answering the challenging questions when they discuss them in small groups. However, I decided to set aside more time for students to discuss the data/results in small groups.
The feedback from the students were mixed. A few students said the actual lab activity sounded easy to do, measuring the length, width, height, and mass of the block. A student added it seemed easy because she had learned about density in her 8th grade science class. Another student commented that calculating the slope of a line would be a difficult question since it would require them to remember algebra from last year. After reflecting on the feedback from my student focus group, I have decided to have each lab group (made of 4 students) measure 4 blocks and contribute those 4 data points to the class data. Because one of the students said she learned density previously, I added questions where students calculate density of the blocks (prior to any density instruction).
After the discussions with teachers and students, I feel the feedback was expected because I designed the activity to challenge the students to explore density conceptually (relationship between volume and mass) before having students work with the density equation. However, since the general comment was on the difficulty of the questioning, I will reword the questions to guide student thinking or break down more difficult questions into smaller, more manageable pieces.
When conferring with my colleagues, a teacher (special ed science) commented on how I was challenging students by having them formulate relationships from the graph. Another teacher (chemistry) noticed that the questions increased in difficulty and spanned multiple higher order thinking skills. The same teacher added that the students might find the activity offputting because of the difficulty level of the questions and how in depth the questions are about density even though the students would not have be taught the concept yet. After reflecting on the feedback from my colleagues, I have decided to keep the difficulty level of the questions to challenge the students and because I think my students are capable of answering the challenging questions when they discuss them in small groups. However, I decided to set aside more time for students to discuss the data/results in small groups.
The feedback from the students were mixed. A few students said the actual lab activity sounded easy to do, measuring the length, width, height, and mass of the block. A student added it seemed easy because she had learned about density in her 8th grade science class. Another student commented that calculating the slope of a line would be a difficult question since it would require them to remember algebra from last year. After reflecting on the feedback from my student focus group, I have decided to have each lab group (made of 4 students) measure 4 blocks and contribute those 4 data points to the class data. Because one of the students said she learned density previously, I added questions where students calculate density of the blocks (prior to any density instruction).
After the discussions with teachers and students, I feel the feedback was expected because I designed the activity to challenge the students to explore density conceptually (relationship between volume and mass) before having students work with the density equation. However, since the general comment was on the difficulty of the questioning, I will reword the questions to guide student thinking or break down more difficult questions into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Phase 6  ImagineIT Final Report
Click to see the implementation report and samples of student work from my ImagineIT project!
Reflection and Moving Forward
When planning my ImagineIT project, I grappled with at least two dilemmas: assessments and students. From problemtizing my ImagineIT project, I have learned that I will never be able to solve my dilemmas, but my instructional decisions should have my students’ best interests in mind and meet their needs. For example, at the time, it was more important to me that my students experience an authentic science task versus giving them a typical pen and paper test to assess their understanding of density. However, that also means I will create a “traditional” assessment later on, so that my students can have that experience to prepare for standardized tests.
After the discussions with teachers and students, the general comment was the difficulty of the questioning. II reworded the questions to guide student thinking and break down more difficult questions into smaller, more manageable pieces. I will continue to confer with colleagues because we were able to discuss realistic expectations for our students and gave constructive criticism and best practices to help with implementing my ImagineIT project. For example, by conferring with a math teacher, I learned the multiple ways students have been taught to find the slope of a line.
Creating a student focus group was also valuable as I gained insight into how challenging or engaging an activity is. It allowed me to recognize where the point of frustration is and decide if my students will overcome their initial frustration or give up. Conferring with students allowed me to recognize where I needed to give more support (with graphing and slope of a line) and what I can expect students to do with minimal help from me. In the future, I would like to use a student focus group when I want to try a new type of activity or project.
After implementing my ImagineIT project, I was impressed with how well my students responded, but I was mistaken by how my students would be challenged. Based on the results of the assessments, my students didn’t struggle as much as I expected with understanding the concept of density without discussing the math equation. Instead, the challenge was having students communicate their understanding in writing. For example, I though my students would incorrectly state that a heavier will sink, a common misconception. Instead, they were able to correctly attribute the buoyancy of an object to density of the object and the medium it is in; however, their explanation was not detailed enough or gave adequate justification. Overall, I learned that I can challenge my students and continue to implement these types of projects because they are more engaged and more successful at mastering the concept.
Moving forward, I will like to work on scientific literacy, specifically writing. I want students to improve their science writing to clearly state their claims and provide adequate explanation to include data and relationships. I will continue to challenge students with graphing and asking challenging questions. I plan on implementing a similar activity with gas laws in the second semester.
After the discussions with teachers and students, the general comment was the difficulty of the questioning. II reworded the questions to guide student thinking and break down more difficult questions into smaller, more manageable pieces. I will continue to confer with colleagues because we were able to discuss realistic expectations for our students and gave constructive criticism and best practices to help with implementing my ImagineIT project. For example, by conferring with a math teacher, I learned the multiple ways students have been taught to find the slope of a line.
Creating a student focus group was also valuable as I gained insight into how challenging or engaging an activity is. It allowed me to recognize where the point of frustration is and decide if my students will overcome their initial frustration or give up. Conferring with students allowed me to recognize where I needed to give more support (with graphing and slope of a line) and what I can expect students to do with minimal help from me. In the future, I would like to use a student focus group when I want to try a new type of activity or project.
After implementing my ImagineIT project, I was impressed with how well my students responded, but I was mistaken by how my students would be challenged. Based on the results of the assessments, my students didn’t struggle as much as I expected with understanding the concept of density without discussing the math equation. Instead, the challenge was having students communicate their understanding in writing. For example, I though my students would incorrectly state that a heavier will sink, a common misconception. Instead, they were able to correctly attribute the buoyancy of an object to density of the object and the medium it is in; however, their explanation was not detailed enough or gave adequate justification. Overall, I learned that I can challenge my students and continue to implement these types of projects because they are more engaged and more successful at mastering the concept.
Moving forward, I will like to work on scientific literacy, specifically writing. I want students to improve their science writing to clearly state their claims and provide adequate explanation to include data and relationships. I will continue to challenge students with graphing and asking challenging questions. I plan on implementing a similar activity with gas laws in the second semester.