first-year undergraduate

My Research: Unpacking Active Learning

group work

Does flipping the classroom actually enhance students’ learning, above and beyond just incorporating collaborative activities into classroom instruction? John Moore, one of the chemistry professors at my university, the University of Wisconsin - Madison approached me with this question. We ended up conducting a research study on one of his chemistry courses.

Flinn Chemventory

Chementory website

The Flinn website sums up their software with these sentences, "Flinn’s Online Chemventory™ Inventory Management System(link is external) is a cloud-based lab management system that allows multiple users on multiple devices from multiple locations! Available as a 1-Year, 3-Year or 5-Year license.

JCE 94.09 September 2017 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education September 2016 Cover

Enhancing Student Success in Chemistry

The September 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: student thinking and student success; computational thinking; using games to teach: developing and making tools for teaching; understanding catalysis; green chemistry; food chemistry in the laboratory; exploring edible fats and oils; NMR spectroscopy; laboratory cross-course collaboration; physical chemistry; distilling the archives: scents and smellability; announcing the search for the next Editor-in-Chief.

The Two Words Every Chemistry Student Needs to Learn

student whiteboard using "for every"

Teaching students the proportional reasoning skills needed for stoich doesn’t have to be that daunting. By adjusting how your students talk about stoich, you will adjust how they think about it; eventually, they’ll proportionally reason in a more effective manner.

This post was submitted for the 2017 ChemEd X Call for Contributions: Creating a Classroom Culture.

Stop trying to get your students interested in chemistry!

roasting coffee bean research project

Because my teaching philosophy assumes that both quality and quantity of learning increases with interest in subject matter, I have spent years exploring ways to engage my students in chemistry (of course fire, explosions, and color changing reactions are certainly helpful). I have recently begun using an approach that I have found to be quite fruitful, albeit counterintuitive: I don’t try to get my students interested in chemistry. You read that right. I don’t try to interest my students in chemistry. Rather, I get to know the hobbies and interests of my students. Then I work to demonstrate how chemistry relates to those activities.

This post was submitted for the 2017 ChemEd X Call for Contributions: Creating a Classroom Culture.

Building a Blended Culture in a Secondary Science Classroom

building a blended culture

During my first year of teaching (in Indianapolis, IN), I was inspired by some research I had read as well as some other teachers in the Indy area who were flipping their classes. I was at a small parochial school where parental and administrative support for technology inclusion was present. My principal outfitted me with the tools I needed to “flip” my classes and record tutorial videos. Things went pretty well. It was a learning curve for many but I also had good feedback from students and parents.

This post was submitted for the 2017 ChemEd X Call for Contributions: Creating a Classroom Culture.

Especially JCE: August 2017

Cover of August 2017 issue of JCE

Erica Jacobsen shares highlights from the August 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education that are of special interest to high school chemistry teachers.

JCE 94.08 August 2017 Issue Highlights

JCE August 2017 Cover

Teaching Chemistry from Rich Contexts

The August 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: visualizing the chemistry of climate change; environmental chemistry; chemistry education for medical preprofessionals; tools for learning and student engagement; training laboratory teaching assistants; biochemistry; forensic chemistry; nanoparticle experiments; materials science; resources for teaching; from the archives: climate change.

Elemental Haiku

Hydrogen haiku

In the August 4th issue of Science Magazine, author Mary Soon Lee shared a review of a periodic table that contains haiku for each element. There is an interactive periodic table you can click on; it was easily viewable in the mobile version of the article. This would be great when wanting to include interdisciplinary components or when reaching students whose interests include poetry. Students could be instructed to devise their own haiku for an element using properties that are specific to that element.

SAFER SCI: Be Protected!

unsafe storage of chemicals

As we all know, research and general educational practice clearly indicates that students learn science best by doing it – not just reading about it. Hands-on, process and inquiry based science is the key to understanding science. Unfortunately, this is a double edged sword for science teachers in that doing science has its potential hazards and resulting risks. Science laboratories, classrooms and field work sites can be unsafe places to teach and learn. If a student gets hurt while doing an activity in the lab, in the field or even at home if it was a teacher’s assignment, there is potential shared liability for both the teacher and the school.