As part of advocating science literacy in my classroom, I have my 10th grade Honors Chemistry students dance their first semester final. This Dance Your Final semester final is to force students to actually read real, published scientific research; have a group final; eliminate test anxiety; and help students have fun with the content. Truly, of all assignments I give during the school year, this is the one that students say they sweat the hardest on, enjoy the most, and are the most proud of their work.
Though we may recognize its presence, teachers, scientists, and policymakers still disagree on the most practical and effective methods for developing scientific literacy in our students. Herein lies our challenge as science educators—what can we do in the classroom to create experiences for our students that involve the understanding and appreciation of the most valuable traits associated with being scientifically literate? This article includes resources and a sample assignment that will hopefully get all of us off on a good start.
Teaching Chemistry from Rich Contexts
The August 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: visualizing the chemistry of climate change; environmental chemistry; chemistry education for medical preprofessionals; tools for learning and student engagement; training laboratory teaching assistants; biochemistry; forensic chemistry; nanoparticle experiments; materials science; resources for teaching; from the archives: climate change.
In the August 4th issue of Science Magazine, author Mary Soon Lee shared a review of a periodic table that contains haiku for each element. There is an interactive periodic table you can click on; it was easily viewable in the mobile version of the article. This would be great when wanting to include interdisciplinary components or when reaching students whose interests include poetry. Students could be instructed to devise their own haiku for an element using properties that are specific to that element.
This Call for Contributions has closed. As many school districts are moving toward incorporating student-centered curriculum and pedagogy, many teachers have found that it can be difficult to initiate a classroom culture that encourages students to embrace the change which calls for them to engage in discussions and take more responsibility for their own learning. Chemical Education Xchange (ChemEd X) is interested in learning about how teachers are creating a culture of student-centered learning in their classrooms. For this reason, we are initiating our content specific CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS centered on the concept of “Creating a Classroom Culture”.
Engaging Participation and Promoting Active Learning
The June 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: materials science and nanotechnology laboratories, promoting active learning, catalysis and kinetics, blue bottle reaction, cost-effective instrumentation, resources for teaching, from the archive: anchoring concept content maps.
ChemEd X and the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE) are collaborating to offer a virtual conference like most have never seen before. It is not a webinar. You do not have to schedule specific hours to view a live presentation. I think of it as similar to a virtual book/journal club with the added benefit of having the author leading it. In this case, authors were selected from among those who have published recent articles, activities and research in JCE on the topic of student-centered instruction in chemistry. The theme of this inaugural conference is Chemistry Instruction for the Next Generation.
Promoting Problem-Solving and Discovery Learning
The March 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: protein chemistry; making connections in in chemical education research; chemical bonding; importance of non-technical skills; courses built on reactivity; periodic table; heterocyclic compounds; teaching resources; from the archives: Using Wikipedia and Wikis to teach.
In a recent blog post, Ben Meacham shared his use of the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning Framework. I have started using this approach for class discussion as well, and will share some ideas and thoughts about the process.
Fostering Creativity in Chemistry
The February 2017 online issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available to subscribers. Topics featured include: surface chemistry; chemical identity thinking; conceptual understanding; communicating science to the general public; activities and labs linking chemistry and art; history and chemistry; early access to research; technology as instructional support; synthesis laboratories; from the archives: bottle chemistry.