Allison Tarvin's blog

Excellent Resource for Teaching Chemical Kinetics

AP Insight logo

Chemical kinetics is one of the five challenge areas in AP Chemistry. My students and I have been working our way through one of the teaching and learning activities called Concentration vs. Time. The graphical analysis, guided-inquiry questions, and application to past and future content are seriously challenging, and my students report higher levels of understanding than in past semesters.

A New Standard: Refine the Design of a Chemical System by Applying Engineering Principles

Teachers are accustomed to implementing new learning standards developed by state or national leaders. My state, Georgia, chose not to adopt the newest national standards. State leaders wrote the “Georgia Standards of Excellence” instead. Full implementation of the GSE begins in the 2017-2018 school year.

Supporting Individual Lab Accountability in Large Science Classes

Lab practicals

How do teachers encourage building individual lab skills in classes of over 30 students where labs are done in groups of five or six students? My science department collaborates daily, and we have been discussing this concern for a few years now. Many trials and errors have occurred. 

Early Use of AP Insight with Honors Chemistry: Atomic Mass, Mass Spectrometry, and Dalton's Postulates

AP Insight

College Board offers an excellent online resource for teachers and students. It's not free, but my school district pays the bill. AP Insight provides curriculum outlines, teaching ideas and resources, student handouts, and digitally-graded assessments.

NO MORE UNIT TESTS...What do you think?

My students are bright and motivated. Most work hard and prepare for class and tests. They perform extremely well on district-wide tests and my own classroom tests. However, I see real weaknesses on cumulative assessments requiring high levels of application. My students simply do not retain the content knowledge. I want to restructure my course to exclude "unit tests" and include only cumulative assessments. I'll share my early ideas here, and I would love to hear your experiences.

Summer Solstice Update on the Students' Progress through Our First Summer Assignment

On June 20, 2016 at 6:34 P.M. E.S.T., our sun achieves the most northern point in its journey and stops. The summer solstice marks the moment when the sun stands still; a Latin derivative from the words sol, meaning ”sun”, and sistere, meaning “to come to a stop.” Imagine the wonder and curiosity associated with such a phenomenon in the ancient world!

Building Summer Assignments for Next Year’s First-Year Chemistry Students

summer assignments

Our new administrative team now strongly encourages all core content teachers to provide a summer assignment to prepare students for the first day of school. Outside of the summer reading for literature classes, we’ve never done this. I see the potential for class time-savings and improvement of student understanding. Will the students see the possibilities? What should I assign? Is it realistic to expect next year to begin differently?

Give Me Back My Copper! A Simple, but Multi-Faceted Lab Activity to Review Lab Skills in Week One of AP Chemistry

copper lab

In the lab, students are given a 1.5 gram samples of copper. The copper is taken through a series of five chemical reactions ending with the precipitation of solid copper. After the five reactions, students are asked to return their 1.5 gram samples of copper to the teacher.