inquiry-based discovery learning

Great Introduction for Physical/Chemical Changes and Balancing

I hate to sound like a broken record but I used two activities from Grand Valley State Target Inquiry Program (link is external) that worked amazingly well and had a great "flow". Chad Bridle wrote two inquiry activities that dovetail together. The first is "Changes You Can Believe In". Students are presented first with nine cards that are particulate drawings of changes that occur in matter.

POGIL, Posting Keys Online, Cheating and Checkpoints

POGIL High School Chemistry

We had just had some snow days and I had the feeling that I was getting behind. In one class we were approaching the topic of orbital diagrams and electron configurations. I was tempted to just say, "Here are the notes." Sometimes there is nothing wrong with that. This time, something was eating at me. Instead I picked a POGIL (link is external) from the "High School Chemistry" (link is external) book that presented the ideas through guided inquiry.

The first PBL experience I facilitated was a flop.

My first big project my students engaged in during the 2013-14 school year was, at best, a mediocre experience and, at worst, a giant waste of valuable instructional time we'd never get back. I was at a new school and had a lot of goals I wanted to explore - further investing time into developing classroom culture, engaging students into taking more ownership in their learning instead of being passive recipients, pushing students deeper while meeting them where they were at - in short, developing my teaching identity in a context with a lot of autonomy. I had total teaching freedom.


Inquiry, "Sticky Water" and some great models...

Sticky Water Lab

 I just completed covering "ionic and covalent" bonding with my studenets. I wanted to bridge the gap to intermolecular forces. I found a great lab called "Sticky Water" from Target Inquiry - Grand Valley State.(link is external)  Before I continue, I have to provide "full disclosure". I spent three years with the Target Inquiry Program at Miami University Ohio (Project TIMU(link is external)). There is a lab called "Sticky Water" that was written  by a teacher in the Grand Valley State program. First, the activity focuses on just water, then ethane, then ethanol. 

JCE 93.01—January 2016 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education January 2016 Cover

Kick Off 2016 with Volume 93

The January 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: examining the flipped classroom; central ideas in chemistry & teaching; chemistry, art, & color; expanding student understanding; improving student communication skills; analytical chemistry & instrumental analysis; experimenting with natural products; undergraduate research experiences; educational resources; from the archive: using nonfiction to teach.

How Running a STEM Club Benefits My Classroom

ACS Chem Club

I run an after school STEM club that involves many projects and activities. Students build robots for FIRST Robotics, race RC cars, use 3D printers, and build underwater vehicles. They dissect specimens, and create biodiesel from vegetable oil. So why would I bring this up on the Chemed Xchange? Our science club does chemistry activities, we are an ACS Chem Clubs(link is external), but I think there are many other benefits to this kind of club. Here are a few:

Relative Reactivities of Metals

Last winter I watched a webinar put on by ACS and AACT called "NGSS in the Chemistry Classroom." As a result of watching that webinar, I took an activity that had NGSS Science & Engineering Practices (SEP) integrated into it and tried it out in class. In this activity, students are required to develop their own procedures and data tables.

Blended Learning Pilot: #1

Last year, I researched and practiced what I thought to be "flipping the classroom". But, now that I am taking part in a district-wide "High School Blended Learning Pilot", I can say that I was attempting blended learning early in my teaching career. You see, the flipped classroom is really a small subtype of blended learning. So, the goal of this post is to define blended learning and share what my professional development has in store for me during this academic year.

JCE 92.12—December 2015 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education December 2015

Best Practices in Chemistry Education

The December 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: learning in the laboratory; understanding structure–property relationships; using ACS exams data;  inquiry- and problem-based learning; foundation-level instruction; teaching physical chemistry; examining protein structure; interdisciplinary laboratory experiments; from the archives: chemistry and toys.

A Quick and Dirty Stoichiometry Lab...Differentiation and Inquiry?

Quick Stoichiometry Lab

There is a traditional stoichiometry lab I have done before. It involves adding dilute hydrochloric acid to sodium bicarbonate, boiling off the fluid and then getting the mass of the sodium chloride. Students then can solve the percent yield for the sodium chloride based on the amount of sodium bicarbonate they use. It is not a bad lab.Something about having hot ceramic watch glasses with acid just makes me a bit nervous.I am not sure where I got this new lab, but it has been one that has evolved over the years It is quick, dirty, relatively simple and uses over the counter (mostly) materials.