Ben Meacham's blog

Seeing Chemistry in a Different Light—FLIR Thermal Cameras in the Classroom

Before trying to use a piece of equipment, it’s worthwhile to have a basic understanding of how it works. To put it simply, FLIR cameras primarily deal with the infrared part of the EMR spectrum. The camera detects infrared energy and converts it into an electrical signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image on a video monitor. 

Gas Laws and Deflategate

If you are looking for ideas to create an authentic opportunity for students to apply their knowledge of gas laws while integrating some of the most important science practices, then this activity may fit your needs.

Boltzmann Bucks—Helping Students Conceptualize Entropy

If you are looking to go beyond using traditional, arguably misleading, definitions of entropy involving “disorder” and “messy bedroom” analogies, the Boltzmann Bucks game fits the bill. The game, pulled from a Journal of Chemical Education article, provides a wonderful opportunity for students to more accurately conceptualize entropy.

A Simple Tool to Help Make the Retake Process Less Chaotic

Part of placing value on the process of learning means giving students multiple opportunities to demonstrate understanding. Reassessments are an inevitable part of the process. For many teachers, this presents a logistical problem. To help streamline the entire process, I would like to share a simple strategy that anyone can replicate in a short amount of time.

Incorporating Authentic Assessments in Chemistry

Recently, my district made a commitment to helping its teachers reflect and rethink their grading and assessment practices. One of the phrases I kept hearing throughout our staff professional development sessions was authentic assessment. I understood (and agreed with) the basic premise—create more opportunities for students to perform tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. Doing so involves going beyond, or even potentially replacing, traditional summative assessments at the end of each unit.