I attended 5th grade camp with my son, Stevie, this week. Camp Miniwanca is a beautiful property between the vastness of Lake Michigan and a much smaller inland Stony Lake. The program is based upon the "experiential learning cycle". Small groups of campers work through a series of challenges. The counselors and chaperones allow the children to struggle, disagree and fail. Of course, success is congratulated and enjoyed. Children choose their own goals for individual challenges, so they have an opportunity to strive for their "best self" and meeting or exceeding whatever goal they have made is celebrated. Children were given many team and individual responsibilities. Every part of the day at camp had a purpose. Stevie is the youngest of my children. I have chaperoned several camps before and I attended a few as a child myself and one as an adult participant. This one was by far the best run camp I have attended. Many camps give lip service to experiential learning, but the thing that I observed at Camp Miniwanca that impressed me was there attentiveness to the entire process of the experiential learning cycle.
I’m looking forward to this year’s National Chemistry Week even more than usual. The 2014 theme “The Sweet Side of Chemistry” offers an opportunity to share the chemistry of candy, a super high-interest topic.
Teaching Chemistry and Making a Difference
The March 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/3. The March issue features: changing the curriculum to make connections, forensic chemistry, computer-based learning, hands-on activities and labs for introductory chemistry, teaching physical chemistry, organic and biochemistry labs, and the mole concept.
“How Much Turmoil Does the Science Project Cause Families?” reads the tongue-in-cheek science-fair-style poster illustrating parent Susan Messina’s views on science fairs. Her materials list includes: at least 1 grudging parent, half-baked idea of very dubious merit, and procrastination.
Fostering Engagement in Nanotechnology
The Feburary 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/2. The February issue features articles on nanotechnology in the areas of public engagement, instrumentation, and laboratory experiments.
ACS Publications—Most Trusted. Most Cited. Most Read
The January 2014 issue marks the start of the 91st volume of the Journal of Chemical Education. This issue plus the content of all past volumes are available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/jchemeduc. The January 2014 issue will be available as a sample issue for the entire year, so the full text of all articles can be accessed without a subscription. Subscription information is available at http://pubs.acs.org/page/subscribe.html?ref=jceda8.
Changing the Landscape of Chemical Education
The December 2013 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/90/12. This issue of JCE plus the content of all past issues, volumes 1 through 90, are available to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/jchemeduc.
As I maneuver through the school year, a certain rhythm develops. The start of the year brings the excitement of new classes and new students. I'm often trying new things in the fall as I've reflected on the previous year's teaching over the summer. The energy level is certainly much higher at this time than almost any other.