Happy New Year! For many, the beginning of a new year involves creating resolutions. And, hopefully not quitting them! Something I have resolved to do is modify the presentation and submission of lab reports.
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.
There have been many conversations within the Chemistry Education community surrounding the revisions to the AP curriculum. Twitter has been buzzing with instructors debating how to implement the changes, conferences and workshops have participants deconstructing the data from last year’s exam, and classroom teachers are working diligently to prepare their students for this year’s test.
One way the College Board has tried to shift the AP curriculum away from algorithmic problem solving and toward more meaningful conceptual understanding is through the use of particle diagrams.
I recently spoke by email with Bob Worley as he prepared an article, But Surely That’s Banned, sharing some thoughts on chemical safety for teachers from his UK perspective. Part of the discussion revolved around our shared concern for using methanol for demonstrations. The Fire Tornado demonstration, that was part of the September 2014 Nevada museum incident, can easily be found in written form and video in a quick Google search.
We teach it, some celebrate it, and we try to make it engaging for our students. What is it? The mole concept and Mole Day! So how do we make it engaging for our students? Let me introduce #molympics.
If you are on Twitter and follow #chemchat, you may have recently seen some beautiful, rotating 3D atomic and molecular models from Dave Doherty @atomsNMolecules. I was curious about these models and after contacting Dave, he introduced me to The Atomic Dashboard.
I want to learn more about the modeling approach to teaching chemistry, but have not yet found the time to attend training. It seems like modeling would be the next logical step after the flipped classroom method of instruction that I have used for the last four years. My goal in using modeling is to continue to move from a teacher centered classroom to an environment wherein students take on true ownership of their own learning. As luck would have it, I met some experienced modelers at a Biennial Conference on Chemical Education 2014 (BCCE 2014) Birds-of-a-Feather lunchtime chat and got to pick the brain of Erica Posthuma-Adams, and others, regarding this instructional approach. Their passion for modeling was clear and their willingness to share effective strategies for building a classroom around modeling was most appreciated.
Here in Michigan we are entering into our 4th week of school. My Honors Chemistry 1 students will be having their first test this week and my Chemistry 2 students will be having their stoichiometry test in 2 weeks. Things are moving along and I am daily observing improvement in my students.
Statement from the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety regarding the “Tornado Experiment” Explosion in a Science Museum in Reno, Nevada
Another chemistry demonstration accident has happened. This one was at a museum in Nevada. In preliminary reports, it looks as if several children were injured. One child was held overnight in the hospital. See the article posted on Yahoo News. (Thanks to Tom Kuntzleman for the link.)