One of my goals for 2017 was to read more chemistry non-fiction. I accomplished that with three and a half books read. That doesn't seem like much, but given how busy I've been lately it was quite an accomplishment! I offer a brief review of my most recent book here, "The Alchemy of Air" by Thomas Hager.
Joshua Schrier has taken on a traditionally difficult task, teaching computational chemistry. To do this successfully, the student has to have programming skills, a solid foundation in the theory and background in the methods employed from classical physics to quantum methods. Thus the task is daunting and why so few have taken it on.
In a previous blog post, I shared a book Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction, by Dr. Peter Atkins. For my summer reading I wanted to get back to reading some chemistry non-fiction. I did, however, diverge from my original plan to read Eric Scerri's The Periodic Table: It's story and significance. Instead. "Four Laws That Drive the Universe" (with an alternative title of The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction) became my next book as I so thoroughly enjoyed the writing style of Peter Atkins. The Kindle Version is only $6.15 and worth every penny in my opinion.
I have always been intrigued by the story of the Hindenburg, the iconic airship that caught fire on May 6, 1937. The accident killed 35 of the 100 passengers and crewmembers on board. As a chemistry teacher, I discuss this from a chemical standpoint and the fact that the airship was filled with hydrogen, a flammable gas, rather than helium, a non-flammable gas, as today’s modern airships are.
Chemical Information Special Issue
The March 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. The entire issue is devoted to topics on various aspects of chemical information and information literacy: chemical education research on information literacy; chemical information literacy for undergraduates; chemical information literacy for graduate students; prototypes and best practices; discovery.
We all have plans. As teachers we plan every week and worry about time, depth, amount, types of assessment and state mandates. Most importantly, are the kids learning? We give it our best shot. Sometimes, we have to go to plan B.
“What are you reading?”
This twist on the traditional icebreaker question kicked off a meeting session last summer. I was eager for the conversation to make its way around the table to me. On my plane ride the day before, I’d started The Martian by Andy Weir, and I was hooked.
Have you read “Making Thinking Visible”? You should. It focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever.
Here is a sample activity that I adapted to fit my honor chemistry students’ needs:
Passion for and Dedication to Chemistry and Education The July 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/7. The July issue features a tribute to J. J. Lagowski, green chemistry principles, book recommendations for the summer, organic chemistry in action, computation chemistry experiments, resources for teaching fluorescence spectroscopy.
As chemistry teachers, there are many ways we can relate our subject to the world around us. Linking with an effort to increase literacy at my school, I've started reading a non-fiction book with one of my chemistry classes titled, “The Case of the Frozen Addicts: Working at the Edge of the Mysteries of the Human Brain."