Flipped Learning Questions

I am preparing to teach a "blended" chemistry course this fall and I admit that I am a little nervous. Students will be expected to access some of the course material outside of class. It will be very important that students preview materials and complete assignments. In recent years, it has become more and more difficult for me to feel confident that many of my students are spending enough valuable time preparing for class. There are many reasons for this, but the bottom line is that I am looking for advice from chemistry teachers that have experience using the flipped format. How can I assure that students will complete the work? There is one other teacher in my high school (of 600+ students) that is using a flipped format, so many of my students will have some experience with it. I know that teacher has struggled to get students and their parents to buy-in to the concept, but he has gotten some positive feedback after two years.

I did just read an article in the Journal of Chemical Education (part of the AP Special Issue) that has been helpful as I prepare for the course: D. Schultz, S. Duffield, S. Rasmussen, J. Wageman, Effects of the Flipped Classroom Model on Student Performance for Advanced Placement High School Chemistry Students.

Other chemistry teachers are asking for the same type of advice (see a recent inquiry), so I hope we will get a good response from our community!  



3 comments. Join the conversation.


Sushilla Knottenbelt | Fri, 08/15/2014 - 15:45

I'd like to highly recommend a resource for getting student buy-in for any kind of active learning approach that relies on the students doing some work to prepare for class.  I have used these 'first day questions' by Gary Smith for many semesters and feel they work well - http://www.ntlf.com/issues/v17n5/v17n5.pdf - is a link to an article in the National Teaching and Learning Forum.  This approach gets students to think about what is most important to them in their education and then to commit to work to make it happen.  It will require a bit of tweaking for high school, but only very minor changes.


Lowell Thomson's picture
Lowell Thomson | Sun, 08/17/2014 - 04:24

I've been flipping my IB Chemistry classes for a few years now. In general, a large majority of my students learned to really love the videos as a learning resource. However, I'm at a new school this fall so I recognize the need - as you did - to establish the method a bit and get the buy-in that leads to students activitely watching the videos.

I've done a few things this year a bit more deliberately than in previous years. First, I created an "introductory" video for students to watch. It's very short but gives them an overview of the process of watching the videos. I also spent time in class discussing the need to actively watch the video, rather than just passively push play and sit back. A normal 15-minute video should take a student longer to watch if she/he takes the time to work the example problems I provide and pause when necessary to write notes and do mental processing.

Last spring, I started using a Google Form to collect some formative assessment data about the videos - and student feedback as well. I'm continuing the process this fall with a few changes.

I'll work on a blog post about this to give a bit more detail than a simple comment here. 

Enjoy the process. It's a ton of fun!

Lowell Thomson


IB Chemistry Teacher

International School Bangkok