Especially JCE: September 2017

September 2017 JCE cover

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

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.

A Class Discussion on the Nature of Science

Richard Feynman

The first chapter of every middle and high school science textbook I have ever seen contains a section on “the scientific method.” As a result, by the time your students get to you they are probably very adept at reciting how science is done, or at least how they think it is done. A short list of easy steps is presented which always, incomprehensibly begins with forming a hypothesis (which some people insist must be an if-then statement), and then BOOM! Science has happened. This oversimplification and the dry exercises I’ve seen used to “teach” it led me to dispense with teaching the scientific method explicitly for several years. Rather, I wanted my students to gain an understanding of science by doing science, as best as we can replicate in a classroom, though inquiry labs, class discussions, and defending claims with evidence.

Are you part of an AP Chemistry professional learning community?

photo of student lab work

The research says the best way to make your school better is to encourage teachers to participate in professional learning teams that unpack the standards to determine what each student should learn and how the learning will be measured, build a useful warehouse of evidence that learning is occurring, and critically review data collected to determine useful instructional strategies versus ineffective strategies.

Searching for the Next Editor-in-Chief of JCE

DivChEd logo and JChemEd 9/17 cover

The Board of Publication of the ACS Division of Chemical Education announces the opening of a search for the ninth Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE). The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for all aspects of JCE publication either directly or cooperatively through the co-publication agreement with the ACS Publications Division. A video and other documents are provided to outline the job posting, responsibilities of the position, the routine workings of JChemEd and characteristics of a well-suited candidate. 

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!

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.