Political dilemmas will be associated with resistance from various stakeholders when school and organizational norms are questioned and routines of privilege and authority are disturbed.
Cultural dilemmas will emerge between teachers and students as classroom roles and expectations shift with an emphasis on chemical thinking.
Pedagogical dilemmas will arise as they address decisions about instructional materials and approaches and what to emphasize in learning experiences that a chemical thinking perspective demands.
Conceptual dilemmas will occur as teachers confront the philosophical, psychological, and epistemological assumptions that differ between a traditional conceptualization of chemistry learning and chemical thinking. Teachers are asked to organize instruction around the Chemical Thinking Framework instead of a topic based approach.
Implementing constructivist pedagogy in the chemistry classroom (Chemical Thinking) has inherent challenges which hinder teachers. Teaching Dilemmas emerge due to the ambiguities, philosophies, and compromises that arise among stakeholders in the educational arena. These dilemmas commonly arise from tensions between teaching what we know in the way we were taught (Traditional) vs. teaching students how to think and know about chemistry by creating the knowledge (Chemical Thinking). Many teachers need to deal with these dilemmas in our everyday practice.
In "Comparing household chemicals" students discover the effects of using different types of household chemicals and determine if they are really all so different. This formative assessment targets the question “What are the effects of using and producing different matter types?” This is important because students should understand the types of products they are using. If they are buying something that says it is a cleaner for the bathroom, why does it sometimes have the same compounds in it as a cleaner for the kitchen. If students can recognize this, then they can be better consumers and not have to buy two different products knowing that the chemicals are the same.
In the “Airbag challenge” the students are tasked with developing a safe airbag for a car company. This formative assessment explores students’ thinking about the question “How can chemical changes be controlled?” The central concept in this challenge is the application is stoichiometry. Students are expected to use the numbers of moles of reactant consumed or product formed in a balanced chemical equation and to determine the change in the number of moles of any other reactant and product. Students need to use molar mass to convert mass of a reactant or product to moles for use in stoichiometric calculations or to convert moles from stoichiometric calculations to mass. Students use the ideal gas law equation to determine the numbers of moles in a sample of gas not at standard conditions.