“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!
Edmodo, Coursesites, Schoology…which digital learning platform is best for you? I’ve been searching for the right, free fit for me for the last three years. My journey has taken me from Edmodo to Coursesites to Schoology. I learned four valuable lessons about myself along the way that may help you make your own decision.
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.
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:
Chemists Celebrate Earth Day
The April 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available for subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/92/4. This issue features articles on atmospheric and environmental chemistry. Also featured in this issue are: microfluidic devices; problem solving strategies; information literacy; kinetics & thermodynamics; investigations of gases and organic synthesis; outreach.