American Chemical Society (ACS) ChemClubs and ChemMatters have teamed up to offer a chemistry infographic contest for teachers, students, and really, any chemistry aficionado out there who would like to enter. Choose any chemistry topic and communicate it creatively and clearly through an original infographic. A class project or science club activity, perhaps?
Kick Off 2016 with Volume 93
The January 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: examining the flipped classroom; central ideas in chemistry & teaching; chemistry, art, & color; expanding student understanding; improving student communication skills; analytical chemistry & instrumental analysis; experimenting with natural products; undergraduate research experiences; educational resources; from the archive: using nonfiction to teach.
I run an after school STEM club that involves many projects and activities. Students build robots for FIRST Robotics, race RC cars, use 3D printers, and build underwater vehicles. They dissect specimens, and create biodiesel from vegetable oil. So why would I bring this up on the Chemed Xchange? Our science club does chemistry activities, we are an ACS Chem Clubs(link is external), but I think there are many other benefits to this kind of club. Here are a few:
Using a whiteboard or poster paper each group of students creates their interpretation of the model thus far based on a content unit they are given.
- This activity can be done at the end of each unit, before a semester exam, or when students return from an extended break
Late last school year at a staff meeting, teachers were informed that we were going to be coached and encouraged to introduce more vocabulary instruction to our content areas.
“So what corners of the periodic table do I have to memorize in order to get an A on the trends quiz?” This was a question that was asked by one of my students at the beginning of our periodicity unit. For countless educators we teach chemistry because we have a passion for trying to understand the world from an atomic level. However many of our students have extrinsic motivators which result in attempts to find shortcuts to recall the material. If we want to avoid responses like the one stated above we have to identify if we are asking thorough questions when assessing our students.
We all have plans. As teachers we plan every week and worry about time, depth, amount, types of assessment and state mandates. Most importantly, are the kids learning? We give it our best shot. Sometimes, we have to go to plan B.
Recently, I saw this really funny meme on facebook about the creative process. I think it also sums up designing and sustaining students in long term inquiry:
I have a first day routine that I am very proud of. I have used it for 25 years and I think I finally have it down pat. I have spoken to students from 20 years ago at reunions and they tell me that they still remember the first day of chemistry so I think it is pretty good.
What a mole-riffic time we are having here in Kennesaw, Georgia! Some highlights from my time here include:
~ The very appropriate cooling towels (Chill-its) we (ChemEd X) handed out to folks who stopped by our table, ran the Mole Run, or we saw between sessions. Several teachers have been diving in to research how they work. Chemistry in action!