Deanna Cullen's blog
Celebrate Earth Day, which is on Monday, April 22, 2013. Earth Day was first officially recognized on April 22, 1970. This year the theme is "Our Earth: Handle with Care." The topics this year include water, air, plants/soil, and recycling.
If you haven't seen them yet, check out the final release of the Next Generation Science Standards. There is helpful information at the site. My home state of Michigan is currently asking for public input in order to plan support for implementing NGSS.
Whether it is a completely unique idea or just a twist on an old classic, engage in collaboration with other chemistry teachers around the world and publish your work. There are many venues and the pool of precollege chemistry instructors that are already contributing is relatively small.
At NSTA (in beautiful San Antonio, Texas), this past week, I shared activities designed to explore three levels of representation AND provide formative assessment techniques to reveal student misconceptions. All of the activities shared have been featured in the Journal of Chemical Education or have been linked to research articles in JCE as supporting information.
Moles, mole ratios and stoichiometry have been frustrating topics for many of my chemistry students. The MOLE and Avogadro’s number get tangled up in other Chemistry jargon and students have stared at me like I am speaking another language. I have been around long enough to know this is a problem that many of us have faced. I have tried many ideas that have helped and I want to share a few.
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.