Atomic theory is a common topic throughout any introductory chemistry course. It is likely that Rutherford’s gold foil experiment gets at least some attention in your course. I have used a simple activity that gives students an opportunity to replicate Rutherford’s experiment through an analogy experiment that may allow for easier conceptualization of the experiment itself and provide additional support for model development.
Science Practice: Developing and Using Models
Light is a challenging topic in chemistry. In this article, I share an outline of how I approach the content related to interactions between matter and light using activities, a simulation, demonstrations and whiteboards.
The summer is an ideal time for reflection, a time to process and grow as an educator. This summer I was fortunate enough to attend the POGIL® National Meeting at Washington University in Saint Louis as well as assist as one of the facilitators at the Northeast Regional Meeting at Manhattan College. While there are numerous ways to spend your summer vacation, I wanted to share some reasons why POGIL® draws me in time and again.
Embracing the idea that students already create an image, create an idea, of what is happening when they observe a demonstration, lab or activity. The goal is to have the students make that model more concrete through drawing it.
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.
Matt Vonk and Peter Bohacek have just created a handful of new chemistry activities that are based on interactive high-resolution video. These classroom-ready experiments have interactive tools so that students can perform the analysis and record data themselves. In some cases, students can even change variables.
Whether you are looking to add a bit more scientific inquiry to your labs or simply looking for a great stoichiometry lab that can be added to your collection, I encourage you to try something like this with your students!
I will share how I use the Target Inquiry activity, Change You Can Believe In. I have realized that I need to include particulate models within the assessments after the lab to fully evaluate my student's conceptual understanding.
When describing abstract concepts like chemical bonding, it always seems to feel far too easy for both teachers and students to resort to the “wants” and “needs” of atoms. After all, we understand what it means to want, need, or like something, so it often feels appropriate (and easier) to use a relatable metaphor or subtly anthropomorphize these atoms to accommodate our students’ current reasoning abilities. While predicting the types of bonds that will form and the general idea behind how atoms bond can be answered correctly using such relatable phrases or ideas, the elephant in the room still in remains—do our students really understand why these atoms bond?