My goal with this summer camp was to expose students to the chemistry of things around us - plants, food, batteries, fuel, etc. Fortunately, by studying plant pigments and photosynthesis, students were able to learn about and utilize common lab techniques.
Oh summertime! My non-teacher friends and neighbors like to point out that it must be great having summers off from work. I try to explain that I’m still working although it’s really nice having a break from the students. And I know that a lot of colleagues in my PLN on Twitter are enjoying their break from students too while still spending some time working on upcoming challenges and curriculum designs.
View the semifinalist videos for the ChemEd 2015 "So You Think You Can Demo" contest.
Participate in our Unofficial Vote for your favorite!
In a previous blog post, I shared my thoughts about the importance of science teachers (and all teachers, really) supporting their claims about lesson efficacy with evidence. While this doesn’t always need to be a formal research study, it can often be valuable to publish findings that will be helpful to other science teachers.
If videos are the method of choice for my students’ free time learning, then why do they sometimes struggle to hear and make sense of the chemistry content in my short teaching videos?
n teaching we regularly change our class structures and routines and we implement new “interventions” in hopes of changing classroom dynamics or reaching more students. I know that most of the time I make these decisions based upon anecdotal evidence, perhaps after glancing at a handful of exit tickets from my students or based upon how I “felt” the class went. Recently, though, I’m finding myself a little more hesitant when making a claim about my class. I require that my students support their claims with evidence, so why wouldn’t I also support mine with evidence?
I have been involved in several types of community outreach projects to promote science education and chemistry. One of the best was a biannual event I worked on with teachers from each elementary school in our district and from our middle school. It was a Science Extravaganza.
The “Elephant Toothpaste” experiment is a very popular, albeit messy chemistry demonstration. To carry out this experiment, place a 250 mL graduated cylinder on something that you wouldn’t mind getting messy.
Have you read “Making Thinking Visible”? You should. It focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever.
Here is a sample activity that I adapted to fit my honor chemistry students’ needs:
The juice from an orange peel causes a balloon to pop. When I first saw this effect I immediately thought to myself, “what is the chemistry involved in this experiment?” After quickly searching the web, I found several claims that a compound in orange peels called limonene (Figure 1) is responsible for this effect. Limonene is a hydrocarbon, which means that molecules of limonene are composed of only carbon and hydrogen atoms. Limonene is responsible for the wonderful smell of oranges, and it is a liquid at room temperature.