collaborative/cooperative learning

JCE 94.10 October 2017 Issue Highlights

Celebrating the Value of Chemistry

The October 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: geochemistry in action; research on effective teaching and study approaches; keeping education and chemistry relevant; communication and writing; spectroscopy; chromatography; synthesis; teaching resources; mining the archive: chemistry rocks!

Molar Volume of Gas - Lab Tip

Face to face professional development provides the opportunity for teachers to learn from and share with other teachers. This post provides an example of one of the many great ideas that I have learned from other teachers. 

An Elemental Understanding of Isotopes

In this activity, students can look inside the model that resembles the atom and find information that reinforces what an isotope actually is. Furthermore, the quantitative data forces students to examine beliefs about different types of averages and what the numbers really mean. This takes a bit of effort to set up but is inexpensive and can be used year after year.

Time required: 

About 30-40 minutes for the activity. This depends on how many balances are available to share and how many different isotopes are made for a single element. We had 5 balances for 12 or 13 teams of two students. Students can work in groups of 3 as well.

Literacy Stations in the Chemistry Classroom

I took a tip from the elementary school teachers and created literacy stations to help increase the amount of reading and writing in my classroom. Literacy centers support students by arming them with the tools to utilize when examining text documents, charts, graphs, pictures etc. to take the content and make it comprehensible. Here I will provide examples of literacy centers I utilize in my classroom.

That’s What Scientists Do!

As I began to prepare my labs for this upcoming year, I decided to put a bit of a twist on a previous density of a block lab I had used in the past entitled the Measurement Challenge that is sold by Flinn Scientific. It can also be used to find the mass of a block given the materials density and requiring students to measure and calculate the blocks volume. My added twist resulted in great scientific discourse. 

My Research: Unpacking Active Learning

Does flipping the classroom actually enhance students’ learning, above and beyond just incorporating collaborative activities into classroom instruction? John Moore, one of the chemistry professors at my university, the University of Wisconsin - Madison approached me with this question. We ended up conducting a research study on one of his chemistry courses.

JCE 94.09 September 2017 Issue Highlights

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

The first chapter of every middle and high school science textbook I have ever seen contains an oversimplified section on “the scientific method.” 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.