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.
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.