I just finished my first week of school, like many teachers in the Midwest. I work hard to get my Honors Chemistry students in a lab setting as soon as possible. It is difficult to find a perfect lab to do on the first or second day of school. In my mind, the ideal first chemistry lab would require no prior chemistry knowledge, involve interesting chemistry, address an NGSS standard, be relatively safe, not require expensive glassware or lab tools, and reinforce positive class norms. I have found engineering labs fit the bill! I don't know if I have found the "perfect" lab, but I have found something close I want to share!
In order for students to be fluent enough with the CCCs and core ideas to use them to support their arguments, we teachers need a way to help students become familiar with them.
After attending ChemEd at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, this past summer and meeting such wonderful chemistry teachers from across the country, I began to think about motivation and how important it is in our field to find those intrinsic motivators. With the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS) taking hold in most states across the country, I call upon chemistry teachers to collaborate and I challenge you to find what intrinsically motivates you as a chemistry teacher.
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.
I put together a Science Reasoning Rubric that can be used for many writing prompts in a Chemistry class. It can be used whether a prompt is more suited toward a claim or an explanation. I like that the rubric can be used for lots of the writing tasks students will encounter in a Chemistry class. This means students get used to seeing it, and this consistency is helpful as students write explanations and claims throughout the year.
In an effort to align an old VSEPR lesson to NGSS, I told my students that we were going to look at the data available from the real molecules on the pHET simulation we were using and specifically look for patterns. Finding patterns is a cross-cutting concept; one of the three dimensions of NGSS.
In an effort to implement the science and engineering practices of the NGSS, I have tried to introduce argumentation as a practice into my chemistry courses. I share some growing pains and what I have learned through the process in this blog post.
This introductory lesson uses a crosscutting concept, structure and function, as a means to model pre-conceptions of a voltaic cell. A phenomena is used to pique curiosity and engage students as they progress through the unit.
NGSS crosscutting concepts and core ideas are intended to be used as evidence to support explanations and arguments. I have found several lists of Chemistry core ideas online, but I don’t think I would give the ones I have seen to my students because they are either too long or written with language that I don’t think is suitable for novice learners of Chemistry. I have compiled a list of the crosscutting concepts and 12 core ideas for high school Chemistry that my students could use to support the explanations and arguments I will be asking them to write.
I attended a professional development session on the NGSS earlier this week by Brett Moulding and Nicole Paulson based on the book they wrote with Rodger Bybee, A Vision and Plan for Science Teaching and Learning. The authors propose the “gathering-reasoning-communicating” (GRC) structure as a simplified way of thinking about the Science and Engineering Practices. Reasoning is the keystone of the GRC structure and the primary thing we want science students to be doing. “Gathering” provides the raw materials for reasoning and “communicating” helps us know that reasoning has taken place.