chemical education research

  Why is Chemistry so Difficult?

One reason so many students find chemistry difficult is the abstract nature of the concepts. Research based on the constructivist model of learning has shown that as an educator teaches, the learner makes meaning of the content by drawing from their background knowledge, attitude, abilities and everyday experience and this often results in a different construct than that of the teacher.

Cognitive Load and Active Learning

A couple of days ago on Twitter, the ever-lasting debate between lecture and active learning reignited due to some talks at an Educational Research Conference held in Dublin. These talks stated direct guidance (which includes lecture) was superior in terms of student learning due its reduction of students’ cognitive load. The main citation used for this argument was an article by Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark published in 2006. So, let’s dive into what this article says.

Practical Classroom Implementations for Critical Pedagogy

Once one knows about Critical Pedagogy (with respect to Critical Thinking, as was covered in the ), how is that knowledge used? Can strategies be implemented that embrace Critical Pedagogy while not sacrificing content coverage? What are some ways to build criticality in students while maintaining expected requirements for classroom rigor?

Critical Thinking vs. Critical Pedagogy

I recently participated in a conference known as the Digital Pedagogy Lab as a fellow, which required leading a workshop (or an equivalent). I chose to structure my workshop around the ideas of critical pedagogy and STEM, and particularly how we use these ideas in a practical way in the classroom (both F2F (face-to-face) and DL (distance learning)). This blog will be one of a two-part series on these topics.

Oxidation Argumentation Activity

I facilitate a working group of chemistry teachers in the New York area and we recently created our own activity surrounding the topic of oxidation. The goal of the probe was to force students to think about what the meaning of oxidation is, as well as to allow students to engage in the science and engineering practice of argumentation. This was an introductory lesson to my oxidation and reduction unit prior to students learning the terms oxidation and reduction.