It's been a few days since my summer break began. I have had a few days to decompress, relax, and think about my next post. I have been planning to write about concept mapping since the end of our first semester. I first recognized the effects of concept mapping in the classroom when I read Shannon Bowen's blog post last December.
I have no idea what the title is of the first Journal of Chemical Education article that I want to highlight this month. That’s because you haven’t written it yet.
Thinking Like a Chemist
The May 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: assessment & learning theories, science literacy & chemical information, engaging young chemists in chemistry, analysis of real-world samples, organic chemistry in the classroom and lab, computational chemistry in the laboratory, thermodynamics, kinetics projects, understanding hydrophobic & hydrophilic materials.
With the end of the school year approaching, educators are not only developing their semester exams, they are preparing for the upcoming school year as well. Although each individual educator has their own approach to improving their curriculum, many will be spending their time off aligning their curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards. Currently eighteen states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, with additional states developing their own modified version. The idea of revising curriculum for each and every course can be daunting as educators try to identify a common theme that can be applied throughout the entire department. So where do we start? How do we thread a common theme for the professional development provided in our subject area?
Chemists Celebrate Earth Day
The April 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. In honor of Earth Day 2016, the April issue includes a variety of content that provides ideas and suggestions for bringing environmental chemistry to students on the topics of: water quality; climate science and greenhouse gases; atmospheric chemistry; sustainability, green chemistry, and environmental awareness; and energy storage technology. Also in the issue are articles on: outreach and public understanding; teaching organic chemistry; physical chemistry; exploring biochemistry with proteins; research experiences in the laboratory; educational resources.
If you look at any chemistry textbook, you will see Lewis structures introduced long before electronic and molecular geometries. This makes sense since you need Lewis structures to determine molecular geometry. Unfortunately, research has shown that students often do not recognize that the purpose of drawing Lewis structures is not to create the structure itself but to use it as tool to understand the properties of the molecule (Cooper, Grove, Underwood & Klymkowsky, 2010).
While attending a professional development session last year I was introduced to the Talk Science Primer, developed by the Inquiry Project and TERC. Although the research and sample population targeted educators and students grades three through five, I decided to review the material to analyze if it had any value in a chemistry classroom.
There have been a TON of great ideas for guided inquiry (modeling instruction(link is external), POGIL(link is external), Target Inquiry(link is external), etc.). I do a ton of guided inquiry in my classroom. I have engaged in professional development on facilitating group work (through POGIL) and read what I hear is THE book on group work (which really is quite good- “Designing Groupwork(link is external)”).
Providing Unique Learning Experiences
The February 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: metal–organic cage & host–guest interactions; safety; innovative teaching approaches; understanding kinetics; computer-based instruction; activities combining ethics and analysis; “play with your food” laboratories; synthesis and analysis in the laboratory; fluorescence-based experiments; chemical education research; mining the archives: copper.
I hate to sound like a broken record but I used two activities from Grand Valley State Target Inquiry Program (link is external) that worked amazingly well and had a great "flow". Chad Bridle wrote two inquiry activities that dovetail together. The first is "Changes You Can Believe In". Students are presented first with nine cards that are particulate drawings of changes that occur in matter.