This week I am on spring break. Before spring break, my honors and regular Chemistry 1 classes made it through our third unit called “Periodic Table and Periodicity.” During this unit, we take about 3 days to learn the content and another 3-4 days to practice the content (more for Chemistry 1, less for Honors). One way that I have my students review the content is by playing a board game that I recreated from an NSTA conference a few years ago. In this board game students are instructed to place words on their proper line/location (including names of families/groups and regions of the periodic table) and arrows on yellow dots pointing in the direction that that periodic trend increases (trends include: Electronegativity, Ionization Energy, and Atomic Size/Radius). Feel free to create additional periodic trend arrows depending on what you’ve covered in class.
Science is creative; it requires new ideas, new patterns, and new solutions to old problems. A deep understanding of the periodic table is the most critical knowledge in chemistry. I want my students to experience the table and conceptualize its trends in a deeper way. Combining creative ideas from an AP Lit project with my honors chemistry content, I am brainstorming about a more engaging, more challenging summative assessment on periodic table families. I would love to hear your ideas and collaborate to build an exciting assessment.
The Modeling™ curriculum emphasizes modeling, collecting evidence, scientific discourse and development of conceptual understanding. All of these can be linked to AP and NGSS standards. If you are looking to make improvements in your curriculum and gain some impressive strategies, consider enrolling in a workshop this summer. There are many workshops scheduled around the country during the summer. A full curriculum and support materials are provided.
The February 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/92/2. The February issue includes content on: metal-organic materials, assessment, acid–base chemistry, game-based approach to teaching, chemical structure and properties, luminescence, inquiry-based teaching, nanochemistry, synthesis, and computational chemistry. This latest issue of JCE plus the content of all past issues, volumes 1 through 92, are available at http://pubs.acs.org/jchemeduc.
Education “buzz words” can be meaningless jargon, or they can challenge us to consider new approaches to teaching and learning. Don’t let the jargon be a buzz kill!
“Significant figures are so confusing,” says my former student, who is currently taking AP Chemistry. My PowerPoint lecture with lab to follow didn’t work. Convicted, I wrestled with transforming my tired lesson. I embraced the buzz words. Let’s look at a significant figures lesson that changed my compliant, quiet learners to ENGAGED COLLABORATORS.
Celebrating the International Year of Crystallography
The December 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available for subscribers online at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/12. The December issue includes content on: crystallography, assessment, career development for undergraduates, problem solving in organic chemistry, and teaching physical chemistry. This latest issue of JCE plus the content of all past issues, volumes 1 through 91, are available at http://pubs.acs.org/jchemeduc.
This article describes a three week lesson plan for teaching stoichiometry using an algorithmic method. Two labs (one designed as a laboratory quiz) several cooperative learning exercises, student worksheets and guided instructional frameworks (forcing students to develop good habits in writing measures and doing problem solving) are included. The highlight of the lessons is the "chemistry carol" (based on Felix Mendelssohn's music for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") in which students recite a five-step algorithm for completing stoichiometry problems. While algorithmic processes may not always be best, I have found that there are many benefits to giving students a firm background and something to always fall back upon in one of the more challenging topics of chemistry. I believe that the good habits developed in this method of stoichiometry carry through to all the rest of their chemistry work, making it much easier to use inquiry-based methods when doing other advanced chemistry topics.
This worksheet is intended to be used as a "Guided Instructional Activity" (GIA). Students read a statement that gives a either a conversion factor or a pair of related measures and then write the information as two equivalent fractions ("conversion factors") and as an equality. In each representation, students are directed to give the numeral of the measure, unit, and identity of the chemical.
35 to 45 minutes.