Transformations in Matter and Energy Carbon TIME is an NSF-funded partnership led by Michigan State University
Activity 5.3 - Preparing for Future Units – Organic vs. Inorganic (40 min)
Target Student Performance
Students distinguish between organic and inorganic materials on the basis of both their functions (organic materials include foods, fuels, and the bodies of living things) and the chemical structure of their molecules (organic materials contain high-energy C-C and C-H bonds).
Resources you Provide
- (From Previous Activity) 1.2 Expressing Ideas and Questions Tool for Ethanol Burning with student ideas
- 5.3 Organic vs. Inorganic PPT
- 5.3 Materials Cards (1 set per pair of students)
- 5.3 Organic vs. Inorganic Worksheet (1 per student)
- 5.3 Grading the Organic vs. Inorganic Worksheet
- (Optional) 5.3 More About Chemical Energy Reading (1 per student)
- Learning Tracking Tool for Systems and Scale (1 per student)
- Assessing the Learning Tracking Tool for Systems and Scale
Print one copy of 5.3 Materials Cards for each pair of students and cut the cards out ahead of time. Print one copy of 5.3 Organic vs. Inorganic Worksheet per student. If you plan on using the optional 5.3 More About Chemical Energy Reading, print one handout for each student.
Listen to students’ responses to the question: why does ethanol burn like wood, even though it looks like water? Check to see whether some students are moving beyond labeling materials as “flammable” to thinking about chemical properties of flammable materials. Do any students mention chemical energy? Do any students mention C-C and C-H bonds? Note students' ability to identify organic materials based on observable properties; organic materials include foods, fuels, and bodies of plants and animals, and based on molecular formulas: organic molecules have C-C and/or C-H bonds.
Use 5.3 Grading the Organic vs. Inorganic Worksheet to grade student responses. At this point, students can be held accountable for correct answers. If students are still struggling with these concepts, you may want to revisit parts of the lesson they are finding difficult.