A new semester begins!

First Day of Class Inquiry Activity

Here we are, starting another new semester! We call it the spring semester at our institution, but there is snow everywhere here! I am excited to report that I did use the activity Change You Can Believe In (gvsu.edu/targetinquiry) last semester on our first evening and I will be using it again tonight. It is such a beautiful way to begin our course. For starters, it gets the students talking to one another instead of me droning on about the syllabus and class expectations. (I do it in little pieces throughout the first week to keep it interesting.) It gets students thinking about patterns immediately. Students begin to think about atoms and molecules from the first day of class and using language like, "these bonds seem to be breaking." Wow!  Discussing particulate matter on the very first day! Using this activity also sets the tone for the entire semester. My students realize that although I am around and active in the classroom, I am not always the main focus. They begin to look to one another for support rather than always looking at me. They start to see that I refuse to give out answers, but instead will ask questions to point them in a certain direction and encourage them to think. Last semester we did not get to the second activity Chad Bridle wrote called The Only Constant is Change but I plan to do that activity in our first lab session tomorrow  I will let you know how it goes! Does anyone else have some favorite 1st day activities that really draw the students into chemistry?