In a recent contribution to ChemEd X "Stoichiometry is Easy", the author states that he has "vacillated over the years between using an algorithmic method, and an inquiry-based approach to teaching stoichiometry. " I would like to suggest that there is another approach to mastering stoichiometry and that it should precede the algorithmic one: it is the conceptual approach based on a particle model to represent the species involved in chemical reactions.
There have been many conversations within the Chemistry Education community surrounding the revisions to the AP curriculum. Twitter has been buzzing with instructors debating how to implement the changes, conferences and workshops have participants deconstructing the data from last year’s exam, and classroom teachers are working diligently to prepare their students for this year’s test.
One way the College Board has tried to shift the AP curriculum away from algorithmic problem solving and toward more meaningful conceptual understanding is through the use of particle diagrams.
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.
In my previous blog post I described some problems I encountered when beginning my instruction on energy this year. From the misconceptions fostered by the biology textbooks using the phrase “high-energy phosphate bond” to idea that energy comes in different forms, the Modeling community recognizes the challenges of teaching the energy concept and has developed a way of talking about energy designed to help students construct a consistent and cohesive model.
Have you ever thought about the ways we, as chemistry teachers, talk about the concept of energy? Think about all the different terms we use when we talk about the role of energy in our curriculum: endothermic, exothermic, heat, specific heat, heat capacity, enthalpy, temperature, kinetic and pot
In my last article I described several different strategies you could use in your classroom to integrate the use of whiteboards. Whiteboarding can be a powerful tool for increasing student engagement when it is implemented well. The success of a whiteboarding activity greatly depends on how well the instructor focuses the student interaction and guides the discussion.
In my first post I mentioned using the Chemistry Modeling Curriculum (CMC) in my classroom. Although Modeling Instruction (MI) has been around for over 20 years, I discovered it during a workshop in the summer of 2010.
At NSTA (in beautiful San Antonio, Texas), this past week, I shared activities designed to explore three levels of representation AND provide formative assessment techniques to reveal student misconceptions. All of the activities shared have been featured in the Journal of Chemical Education or have been linked to research articles in JCE as supporting information.