The Chemistry Capstone Essay is a way to introduce or assess students' knowledge and understanding of a variety of science texts and their understanding of chemical theories and applications taught during the year. Students demonstrate knowledge by having to be concise and distill down complex ideas and connections from a variety of different texts.
Applied Science, Physical Science
High School
Grade 11
Material Type:
Assessment, Lesson Plan
Date Added:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Format:
Graphics/Photos, Text/HTML


Angie Miller on Oct 31, 12:20pm

I am so in love with this project for so many reasons. I took actual notes as I was reading through and emailed my chemistry teacher to come see me when she has a chance! I feel adamant that research and inquiry make learning relevant by intersecting curriculum with the world our students live in. This takes an abstract subject and makes it tangible and accessible.

Pam Harland on Oct 26, 09:56am

This sounds like an exciting and relevant project. I love the connections between what they are learning and real scientific theory. My only concerns are:
I was unable to access all of your texts. Perhaps the links were not working on this version of the project.
Do students have a chance to come up with their own questions?

Jill Zaffers on Oct 23, 09:08pm

From what I understand, asking students to recognize an author's purpose and agenda for writing is quite a sophisticated task, I applaud you for taking it on. Finding open source texts at an appropriate reading level and about a chemistry related topic is also a huge undertaking...and then to get students to write!!!! It seems to me that your goal could fill an entire high school career! Hey! You might think of this as a year long project, broken up into stages that teach the various skills and aspects of chemistry along the way. I like the idea of this very much, and it really humanizes a subject that most students find so very foreign.

Katie Gadwah on Oct 01, 01:13pm

I already left a comment but don't see it below. I'll try to re-create it.

I am in complete agreement that students should be challenged to engage in critical thinking practices as they relate to scientific principals presented in the media.

In section VII, you say that students "will answer a series of questions and respond to one another". I may have missed them, but I could not find the questions. I think that someone trying to replicate the lesson would benefit from having the questions included.

In section IX it was suggested to us that we use the format, "The student will be able to....by...".

In section XI I did not see how each of the "TSWBAT" statements corresponded to the daily learning.

I am excited to share this lesson, and variations of it, with my teachers!

Charles Swift on Sep 29, 08:14pm

I like how you have clearly explained a nice flow and purpose to the project in the unit description. I recommend going back through it, I think you have a couple grammatical errors.

Your goals for inquiry are excellent, well stated and I completely agree.

In your paper content rubric under text selection, I wonder if some additional clarity of " Limited use of basic reference sources" and "Basic reference articles cited more frequently" would make it easier for students to meet the level four expectation.

I found your research paper rubric to be very clear and concise. I plan on sharing it with my peers.

I found your student work samples did a nice job of giving clarity and setting expectations for, not only the teacher but could also be very helpful as exemplars for students starting out this project.

I really like what you have done with this project. I wonder about connecting this project with an English course. I also wonder about introducing this project very early in the year, giving the class a clear sense of why it is important to learn about Chemistry. I do not think they need to go over the rubrics but an overview of the project and the expectations might go a long with a student tying what is happening in their world with what they are learning in Chemistry.


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