Lowell Thomson's blog

Using an Argument-Driven Inquiry framework for student exploration of gas laws

Based on some interactions here on ChemEd X and Twitter, I have been looking for ways to have students generate more questions, ideas, and investigation methods. (See a list of relevant links below.) Some of this is inspired by Argument Driven Inquiry, while some of it is simply my own quest to move further away from being the sole source of information in the class. In this blog post, I would like to talk about how I addressed gas laws using Atomsmith Classroom Online as an investigative tool in place of lab work I did previously using the Vernier gas pressure sensor.


Richard Feynman on "Why?" Questions

In this blog post I will discuss an interview with Dr. Richard Feynman relating to magnets that explores the concept of "why?" questions in science. You will find a links to a blog post and a transcript of the interview along with ideas for how I use the video in IB Chemistry.

Helping Students Make Connections by Reading and Analyzing "Chemistry's Core Ideas"

In this blog post, I share how I use an article from Dr. Peter Atkins, "Chemistry's Core Ideas." My IB Chemistry students read the article early in our program - and then revisit the article numerous times throughout our two-year course. The Google Slide document my students use is included in the supporting information.  

Life as an international school chemistry teacher

The advantages of international schools vary by individual, but certainly the opportunity to travel and see the world is by far the most common reason teachers move overseas. Smaller class sizes are typical, along with fewer teaching periods in your schedule. As an example, I average about 20 students per class right now, teaching 5 of 8 class periods. This is certainly less than my average of 30-35, teaching six of eight class periods at my last public school in the U.S.

Who inspires you?

This blog post may be a bit non-traditional, but in this submission I recall a memory from early in my teaching career when my dad (who was an environmental chemist) visited my classroom. The day remains embedded in my memory bank, and had a profound impact on how I view labs - as an opportunity to extend the learning.