Flipped Classroom: Overcoming Challenges

Flipped classrooms are a popular pedagogical technique, delivering lectures before class so that students can engage in active learning and problem-solving activities during class. Although the response from students and teachers is mostly positive, the approach is not without its challenges. This post outlines some common challenges and how teachers might work through them.

NGSS Periodicity Lesson

 In this lesson, students are offered a variety of alternative versions of the periodic table. Students will identify trends that are consistent from one table to the next in order to understand why the tables they are working with and Mendeleev's version are organized in the manner that they are. This lesson was designed to fit the NGSS performance expectation HS-PS 1.1 but can be used for any first year chemistry course or modified at your discretion.

  Why is Chemistry so Difficult?

One reason so many students find chemistry difficult is the abstract nature of the concepts. Research based on the constructivist model of learning has shown that as an educator teaches, the learner makes meaning of the content by drawing from their background knowledge, attitude, abilities and everyday experience and this often results in a different construct than that of the teacher.

The Chemical Laser Show

Chemistry and lasers can be used to create a demonstration that includes several colors and flashing lights. This demonstration connects to topics in quantum chemistry and phase changes.

Metabolic Marvels of Bear Hibernation- Part 2

The post-Thanksgiving excessive calorie-consumption 'blues' have arrived. How is it possible to eat so much? For a bear, it's easy. Easy as pie. Bears are champion eaters, spending about half the year eating non-stop in preparation for winter's foodless landscape. How can this calorie consumption observation about the bear world be used to teach certain chemistry concepts routinely covered? This post includes discussion and two classroom activities about the following common general chemistry topics/concepts- thermochemistry, unit conversions, and interpretation of numerical data. Enjoy...

Chemical Kinetics with a Smartphone

This experiment in chemical kinetics can be conducted using materials as simple as a smartphone, hydrogen peroxide, sodium carbonate solution, and blue food dye! The experiment is useful when discussing the order of rate laws with respect to reactants.