My IB seniors are just wrapping up our unit on electrochemistry and redox. This has always been a challenging topic within the IB curriculum. Admittedly, electrochemistry has not ever been my strong suit either, so this year I aimed to strengthen the unit with two additional demonstrations.
Science Practice: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating information
Last winter I watched a webinar put on by ACS and AACT called "NGSS in the Chemistry Classroom." As a result of watching that webinar, I took an activity that had NGSS Science & Engineering Practices (SEP) integrated into it and tried it out in class. In this activity, students are required to develop their own procedures and data tables.
A few years ago, we launched a weather balloon during our summer science camp. The balloon reached an altitude of 30 km (100,000 ft)! Among other things, this project ended up being a great way to teach campers about the gas laws and how atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude.
Last year, I worked hard to teach my students how to fail and I believe it was the most important lesson they could have taken away from my class.
In my last article I described several different strategies you could use in your classroom to integrate the use of whiteboards. Whiteboarding can be a powerful tool for increasing student engagement when it is implemented well. The success of a whiteboarding activity greatly depends on how well the instructor focuses the student interaction and guides the discussion.