The Chemical Education Xchange is requesting chemistry educators as well as others working in the discipline to submit ideas, articles, activities and laboratories for publication.
This article describes a three week lesson plan for teaching stoichiometry using an algorithmic method. Two labs (one designed as a laboratory quiz) several cooperative learning exercises, student worksheets and guided instructional frameworks (forcing students to develop good habits in writing measures and doing problem solving) are included. The highlight of the lessons is the "chemistry carol" (based on Felix Mendelssohn's music for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") in which students recite a five-step algorithm for completing stoichiometry problems. While algorithmic processes may not always be best, I have found that there are many benefits to giving students a firm background and something to always fall back upon in one of the more challenging topics of chemistry. I believe that the good habits developed in this method of stoichiometry carry through to all the rest of their chemistry work, making it much easier to use inquiry-based methods when doing other advanced chemistry topics.
I am enrolled in a Modeling Instruction Workshop in Michigan. We have only four days left of the 15 scheduled days. I had planned to blog about the workshop every day, but I found that it was difficult for me to articulate my thoughts quickly enough to post daily.