middle school science

Elements and Augmented Reality

4d elements

Augmented reality is a type of technology that uses an app to turn a hidden QR code into a three dimensional object on a screen as viewed by your camera. I have heard that there are biology related augmented reality pictures. You can look at a heart on a piece of paper but when it is viewed through the app it appears to be beating and you can follow the blood flow with the camera. Elements 4D attempts to bring augmented reality to chemistry.

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.

The Teacher Page - An Organizational Tool

Desktop Clutter

The Teacher Page includes all of the notes I need to set up, run, and clean up the particular experiment. I record from whom I obtained the lab. I list the location of chemicals in the stockroom. I've added what does and does not work, so that I don't have to remember it from year to year. I have notes of things to try in the future. The most important part, however, is the giant spreadsheet to calculate amounts of chemicals needed to make multiple volumes of solutions. This saves so much time and repeated effort!

Creating a Culture of Nerdy

Bravo Nerdy awards

It all started with a couple of summers spent on fellowships at the Institute for Chemical Education at the University of Wisconsin: Madison. In 1990 after two years of teaching high school chemistry I transferred to help open a school to specialize in Health and Medical education. I was 23 years old and ready to take on the world. The school’s student body was high poverty, 96% of the students qualified for the federal lunch program, and almost the entire student body was classified as minority. It was a good first year.

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

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.

Dance Your Final Project

Dance Your Final image

As part of advocating science literacy in my classroom, I have my 10th grade Honors Chemistry students dance their first semester final. This Dance Your Final semester final is to force students to actually read real, published scientific research; have a group final; eliminate test anxiety; and help students have fun with the content. Truly, of all assignments I give during the school year, this is the one that students say they sweat the hardest on, enjoy the most, and are the most proud of their work.

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.

Building Buy-In Through a Growth Mindset Classroom Culture

Mindset poster

When you incorporate non-traditional pedagogies and grading systems into your classroom like Modeling Instruction and standards-based grading, you need to be concerned about buy-in from students and parents. Implementation without buy-in leads to frustrated students, parents and most of all teachers. I have saved myself from this frustration by establishing a growth-mindset classroom culture from day one. Here are my tips for building a classroom where students feel comfortable to fail.

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

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.