We played Jeopardy today in class (with some major upsets coming during final Jeopardy...quite exciting) to review atoms and the periodic table organization. It's a super-short chapter that sets up a foundation for bonding, naming, and chemical reactions. It's also nice because it's mostly review (or should be) of 8th grade physical science.
There's still new stuff I throw at them, like valence electron location and Bohr model electron shells.
During Jeopardy, I try to give thought-provoking questions to get students to see patterns and interconnections between ideas. A favorite line of mine is, "There are only so many ways I can ask these questions." This is painfully obvious as we go through more games and skill building activities.
I started to see a lot of:
2 shells and 3 valence?
on the whiteboards.
I love the question mark. Sure, I'd love it if they were confident and could just spout some of this stuff (because it makes the rest of the year much, much easier to digest). But, I'm more happy that we're finally approaching a point of being willing to venture logical responses rather than, "I don't know."
It was also super fun to see the excitement when a ventured answer was, believe it or not, correct.
And it only took until April 25th. Maybe next year, we can hit this on April 24th. I'll call that a win.