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Mole Book Final

Connie Huerta, Staff Writer

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Rather than a typical final exam that students cram for and stress over, this Fall semester a few in the HHS Science Department decided to make finals a little more fun. Even though finals have to assess educational levels based on the curriculum, HHS’s Mr. Pham and Ms. Cooper assigned a both novel and engaging exam format: a children’s book in which the students illustrated their understanding of a mole.

The pedagogy behind the assignment requires students to show how well they understand the concept by creating an elegant narrative able to be understood by even a toddler, for expertise is crucial when explaining concepts simply.

And moles are a hard topic to grasp due to their size–a number so large that it’s impossible to obtain a mole of anything. Science students must also make it interactive and interesting because, if not, a typical child wouldn’t understand.

In order to create a beautiful mole book, the students must use skills gained in different scholastic subjects like art, English, and math. By doing this, the project is not only helpful for their growth in their scientific skills but also in other areas as well.

Chemistry teacher Don Pham says, he likes the project because it “is one way for [him] to see how well they understand the material by having them address the mole using all the skills they have.”

The use of skills on this topic specifically is useful because of the fact that it helps them remember the mole, “in a way that is more like understanding instead of memorization,” says Kento Logan, a Chemistry Honors student. He goes on to say, “Most of the science classes I’ve had have had hands-on projects.”

When asked if she prefers this type of project, another Chemistry Honors student, Melissa Dominguez, states: “Yes, because on a test (most of the time) it is multiple choice and you can use deduction. . . to deduce what the answer is, but in the project you have to explain it for yourself, in your own words what it is, so you really have to think about it, and you really have to have a good grasp of the subject.”

Making sure students understand rather than memorize is an essential skill for students who want to go to college because in college they test how well a student knows a subject rather than memorization of curriculum, like it is so often in high school. Overall, the mole book is a great project for students because it is way more than merely a grade: it helps with useful skills that students should know for high school and beyond.

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Mole Book Final