"Even Einstein Struggled: Effects of Learning about Great Scientists’ Struggles on High School Students’ Motivation to Learn Science"

           What motivates our students to excel in understanding chemistry? For some students, they would like to pursue a career in a science related field while others are extrinsically motivated for a particular grade or graduation credit.

Quick and Easy Lab Practicals...

Flinn Scientific has a great elearning video series. Many of the videos have master teachers demonstrating some great labs and techniques that they do in the classroom. A general theme in many of the videos seems to be combining demonstrations, labs, calculations and lab practicals. The nice part about what occurs is that for whatever concept the students are doing, it is not enough to come up with an answer on paper. They have to use that answer for a prediction and then see if they are correct actually checking and manipulating material. This idea has added a new dimension to my classroom. Students who are tired of "pen and paper" work now get to get up and use their answers to mass something or find the volume of something and see if they are correct. I have tried to add more of these to my lessons.

Research Experience for Teachers in Bioenergy, Sustainable Energy Systems (UW-Madison)

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is now accepting applications for our 2016 Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program, June 20 - August 5. RET participants spend seven weeks conducting research in GLBRC labs and develop related education materials to bring back to their classrooms. Included is a $7000 stipend. We are recruiting four teachers to work on the following projects at UW-Madison:

Yeast Biodiversity, Ecology and Biotechnology
Ecosystem Carbon Cycling in Bioenergy Cropping Systems
Breeding Switchgrass as a Sustainable Biofuel Crop 

Bioenergy Institute For Educators

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is pleased to announce the 2016 Bioenergy Institute for Educators to be held June 20-24 at UW-Madison. Bioenergy is an exciting area of research and development and can provide excellent opportunities for engaging students while teaching core concepts in biology, biotechnology, chemistry, environmental science, and agriculture. Join us for an intensive 5-day program to learn about the latest developments in bioenergy research and high-quality, NGSS-aligned materials to use with students.

Too Many Questions!?!


As we pilot new laboratory activities in the classroom, my students and I are in constant dialogue. Not only do they leave feedback at the end of each lesson (what did you learn, what was your favorite part, what was you least favorite part), but we talk throughout the experiment. Recently our discussion was focused on the questions.

Capturing the Beauty of Chemistry with an iPad

In my IB Chemistry class, my seniors were finishing up independent investigations for their Internal Assessment a few weeks ago when something cool happened. One of my students was using silver nitrate and potassium chromate for a titration. This is notable to the story here because the endpoint is marked by the formation of silver chromate as a precipitate, with a deep reddish color. I overhead the student showing his reaction to another student, with both of them commenting on the cool colors involved.