You’ve heard the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” How many words for a smell? A single whiff of a familiar scent can whisk me back into the past. Wash my hands with Dove soap—I find myself standing in my grandmother’s house. Walk by someone wearing Eternity cologne—I’m back in high school with an old boyfriend. Spray out a foamy mound of Barbasol shaving cream—I’m standing at an exhibit booth talking about the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE). That was a fragrant flashback moment I had last month. As I followed my nose to the past, it led me to a solution for the present.
My local chapter of the American Chemical Society sponsors an annual event at a local mall called “Chemistry at the Mall”. The event is in celebration of National Chemistry Week. This year’s theme is “The Sweet Side of Chemistry – Candy”. I advise an ACS ChemClub and we hosted a table at “Chemistry at the Mall”. Ten student members worked shifts from 11am – 4pm. This was a great way to get involved with my local chapter and meet some other members. My students had a great time providing outreach and introducing young children to chemistry.
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.
National Chemistry Week this October 19–25 offers a chance to take a trip to the candy shop with the theme "The Sweet Side of Chemistry—Candy." Looking for some tasty chemistry resources? Two upcoming webinars will help you stock up.
On September 2, the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) launched its official website, loaded with lots of resources and member benefits. If you visit teachchemistry.org, you will find many great tools that K–12 teachers of chemistry can use in their classrooms; the new online periodical, Chemistry Solutions; professional development opportunities; and a community for you, in addition to many other benefits.
Passion for and Dedication to Chemistry and Education
The July 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/7. The July issue features a tribute to J. J. Lagowski, green chemistry principles, book recommendations for the summer, organic chemistry in action, computation chemistry experiments, resources for teaching fluorescence spectroscopy.
Making plans for back to school? Don’t forget the candy! It doesn’t sound like something a nutritionist would recommend, but what about a chemistry educator?
“It sort of started to look kind of like a very pale blue.”
A friend who teaches at the middle school level told me about a science experiment he’d done with his students. The procedure suggested to students that a particular solution would turn blue, but also asked them to write down what they saw happen. The thing was, it wasn’t actually designed to turn blue.