Whenever possible, I try to begin a topic with something my students are familar with. For the introduction of Percent Composition in my general chemistry course, I brought in bags of Oreo cookies. Seeing the bags upon entering class was a great attention getter. If you are looking for ways to add more inquiry to your chemistry course, this a an example of how can experiment with giving up a little control. Try it and see how it goes.
I wrote the following directions on the board: Obtain an Oreo. The cookie is made up of WAFER and CREAMY FILLING. Using a balance, a plastic knife and a napkin (to keep the cookie from directly touching the balance), calculate the percent of the cookie that is made up of each part. You have 10 minutes to complete and be ready to explain the process and your answer.
Having some experience in using and creating inquiry activities, I am getting questions from teachers looking for ways to add inquiry to their curriculum. My first tip is to take baby steps. I will continue to blog about ideas to help outline some of those steps. First, I am sharing some inquiry ideas from the last unit I taught in my high school general chemistry course along with providing some ideas for using the resources provided with a subscription to ChemEdX.
I love the first week of school! I perform some of my favorite demonstrations and we jump right into activities that help to jumpstart the year and excite students about where we are headed. I am in the process of uploading many of those activities. I will list them here and you can check them out.
BCCE 2012 is just around the corner at Penn State University. Opening ceremonies begin on July 29th and the conference runs through August 2nd.
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