For dynamic equilibrium, I like to use a physical analogy that pits students against each other in a classroom-wide “snowball” fight. Not only is this activity great for building students’ conceptualization of dynamic equilibrium, it is also really fun!
Science Practice: Developing and Using Models
Like most concepts in chemistry, intermolecular forces takes a bit of imagination and critical thinking to fully comprehend and apply when explaining a variety of situations. Though demonstrating the presence of these forces in a simple and explicit manner can easily be done, I wanted to change how I introduced IMFs a bit this year by focusing on a more data-to-concepts approach.
Determination of Lewis Dot structures and visualization of the shapes of molecules using VSEPR theory is an example of an abstract concept that students often find difficult to learn. I have found it useful to have a single worksheet/packet that my students can add to as we cover Lewis dot structures, resonance, VSEPR shapes, polarity, and intermolecular forces.
How many of you could recite, word for word, a definition you learned in school? When you first memorized the definition, you could state “inertia is a property of matter”, or “density is mass over volume.” However, you struggled to apply it to a new situation and maybe you were unsure of how to construct a model of what it meant.
Did you know there is a simple test you can do to see if an alkaline battery is fresh or dead? All you need to do is bounce the bottom of a battery onto a hard, flat surface. Guess what causes this difference in bouncing ability between fresh and dead batteries? Chemistry, of course!
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.
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.