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Storytelling With Chemical Reactions

27 March 2019

Inside Pinnguaq: The Power of Storytelling Through Science Pt. 2

When I was first learning about TWINE I started by examining a game, within the program, called “A Dark Room”. It gave me a good understanding of the capabilities of TWINE, it’s simple yet keeps your attention and was fun to explore. The game uses variables and progressively gets more involved. After exploring “A Dark Room” I looked at a few resources and watched a few YouTube videos, which gave me a good starting point to begin programming in TWINE.

Science has always been a passion of mine. In high school, it was one of my favourite subjects and it continues to be as a teacher. While in school, I vividly remember participating in some of the coolest experiments and my teachers also had some amazing demonstrations. In chemistry, there are a lot of different types of reactions that can take place. One of the experiments that I remember was when a grade 11 chemistry teacher placed some alkali metals in water. These elements react violently when they come in contact with water, which can be seen in this YouTube video. I thought it would be memorable for students to recreate some experiments in TWINE and add a storytelling piece.

The way I would run this activity in a class would be to assign a few common chemicals to groups of students and have them create a story around the reactions when mixing the chemicals together. This task allows students to be creative in a way that is not typical of a science class. I would start by having the group write out the chemical equations and stating what type of reaction is occurring as a base to start from. They could have the player search for the chemicals in their story and give them choices of what to mix together. Students could also embellish the story by including possible thoughts throughout and using descriptive language. Photos of the chemicals and videos of the reactions can be added to enhance the story. Depending on the chemicals being used and the safety procedures required, it would be great to have students record themselves demonstrating the reactions and add those videos to their TWINE project. Requirements can be added as needed based on curriculum expectations. Giving students an opportunity to explore how chemicals react together can make for a fun project and leave them in charge of their own learning (of course, I suggest doing research first). Activities like this one will help all learners be enthusiastic about science and will hopefully make them excited to learn.

Hopefully, by now the possibilities of TWINE in the secondary classroom have become apparent and you are coming up with ideas of your own. It truly can be used for any subject if you get creative! TWINE is a great introductory tool, especially for students who are interested in programming and enjoy writing. This could lead them into other types of coding and open up a variety of career options. One of the modules I contributed "Exploring Chemical Reactions Using TWINE" will provide guidance and activities for both students and teachers to help integrate tools like TWINE into their science lessons- this module, and more like it, are available on the Pinnguaq Learning Space website. At the Pinnguaq Learning Space, you will find lessons using technology that can be used in your classroom, additional resources, and upcoming events.

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