general public

ELLs and Science Practices

more research

In a previous blog post, I shared my thoughts about the importance of science teachers (and all teachers, really) supporting their claims about lesson efficacy with evidence.  While this doesn’t always need to be a formal research study, it can often be valuable to publish findings that will be helpful to other science teachers.

 

Origami Rabbits and Flipped Chemistry Classroom: Use an Origami Tutorial to Teach Students How to Learn from Videos

Origami Rabbit

If videos are the method of choice for my students’ free time learning, then why do they sometimes struggle to hear and make sense of the chemistry content in my short teaching videos? 

Answer: Students need guidance in developing video-viewing skills that foster understanding complex concepts.

Teacher as Researcher

Teacher Researcher

n teaching we regularly change our class structures and routines and we implement new “interventions” in hopes of changing classroom dynamics or reaching more students.  I know that most of the time I make these decisions based upon anecdotal evidence, perhaps after glancing at a handful of exit tickets from my students or based upon how I “felt” the class went.  Recently, though, I’m finding myself a little more hesitant when making a claim about my class.  I require that my students support their claims with evidence, so why wouldn’t I also support mine with evidence? 

 

Community Outreach

CHEMISTRY OUTREACH

I have been involved in several types of community outreach projects to promote science education and chemistry. One of the best was a biannual event I worked on with teachers from each elementary school in our district and from our middle school. It was a Science Extravaganza.

What are they thinking? Where did they get that idea?

Making Thinking Visible

Have you read “Making Thinking Visible”?  You should. It focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever.  

Here is a sample activity that I adapted to fit my honor chemistry students’ needs:

How Does an Orange Peel Pop a Balloon? Chemistry, of Course!

The juice from an orange peel causes a balloon to pop.  When I first saw this effect I immediately thought to myself, “what is the chemistry involved in this experiment?” After quickly searching the web, I found several claims that a compound in orange peels called limonene (Figure 1) is responsible for this effect.  Limonene is a hydrocarbon, which means that molecules of limonene are composed of only carbon and hydrogen atoms.  Limonene is responsible for the wonderful smell of oranges, and it is a liquid at room temperature.

Why do we have to do chemical equations and calculations?

Fe & Sulfur reaction

(A look at workplace exposure limits found in MSDS sheets)

There is useful information in section 8 of a (Material) Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that teachers can use and shows how a knowledge of chemical equations and calculations helps protect the health of their students and themselves and helps to assure their employers and safety officers that teachers and lecturers are responsible and professional users of chemicals.