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Using an iPad simulation and an online Java applet to help students understand Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution curves

Sun, 04/05/2015 - 18:35 -- Lowell Thomson

There are occasionally discussions amongst educators about the efficacy of using technology in the classroom. Does it really make a difference? One train of thought is looking at the use of technology through the SAMR lens. Is the technology simply a Substitution? Or does it Augment the learning compared to previous methods of learning the same material. Maybe the use of technology Modifies the learning tasks. Or will the technology actually Redefine the learning by allowing the student to interact with knowledge in a way that is impossible without this technology. With this in mind, I set about to use an iPad app and an online simulation to introduce my IB Chemistry students to the concept of Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution curves. I'm not sure exactly where it fits on the SAMR continuum, but without the simulations I could only show my students the graphical representation of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution curve. By using the simulations, I am attempting to help my students develope a deeper understanding of them.

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Using Periodic Properties to Group Students for an Activity

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 07:38 -- Lowell Thomson

Today in my IB Chemistry class we were reviewing the Born-Haber cycle. This has proven particularly challenging in the past so I wanted to try something a bit different and have the students review in groups. The task for each group of students was to create a visual Born-Haber cycle for potassium oxide - ignoring the math and calculations but instead focusing on each process within the cycle. I'd like to share how I grouped students using periodic properties.

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Demonstrating the Colors of Transition Metal Complex Ions

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 08:15 -- Lowell Thomson

Just the other day within my IB Chemistry HL classes, we were discussing the color of transition metal complex ions in solution. It's a bit imperfect, because they are not yet dissolved, but I set up a number of metal chloride salts in order to help students see the pattern. They are arranged according to the position of the metal in the periodic table. It ends up being quite obvious to the students that the only metal salts with color are in the d-block. I'm now in the process of ordering more chloride salts so I can complete the pattern even more the next time I teach this topic.


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Utilizing Google Forms For Feedback and Data Gathering for Instructional Videos in a Blended Classroom

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 08:22 -- Lowell Thomson

In my previous post, I shared the general formatting of the videos I create for my IB Chemistry course within which I utilize the flipped model. Within that blog post, I mentioned that I use Google Forms to collect data about the videos, and I'd like to offer some thoughts on this as a tool with many uses.

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Reflections on a (Virtual) Guest Speaker Visit to my Chemistry Class

Sat, 05/31/2014 - 22:57 -- Lowell Thomson

I've mentioned previously that my current grade 10 class is reading "The Case of the Frozen Addicts" together. As my students starting writing their blogs to respond to the reading, I saw quite a few questions that I couldn't answer. But I didn't want to leave the questions there with no response, so I went to Twitter to find scientists to join my class as a guest speaker.


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