Implementing the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Framework in the Chemistry Classroom

For me, the first step toward teaching my students how to critically think about how they structured an argument or explanation was to implement the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework. While the premise behind CER isn’t anything new to the way science teachers already think, it provides an entirely different approach toward how students connect their experiences and previously learned content into something that is much more reflective of being scientifically literate.

Especially JCE: November 2016

What surprised you most about class last week? What do you think was the muddiest point in class last week? These two questions are part of an article that caught my eye in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education—Surprises in the Muddy Waters of High-Enrollment Courses.

Walking in the Footsteps of Scientists Who Came Before Us

I started teaching in a chronological order when I began using Modeling Instruction in my classroom. During the second year of "walking in the footprints of the scientists that came before us", I wanted my students to see where they were walking and a colleague and I came up with the idea of making footprints for each of those scientists and posting them on a timeline.

“The Candle Experiment” – an Opening Exercise for General (or introductory) chemistry

This exercise is intended as an ice-breaker for a first or second class meeting. It also serves as an introduction to physical & chemical properties and application of the macro/micro/symbolic representations of chemical phenomena. Finally, it also provides a framework to mention many of the topics to be covered in a general chem first semester course.

My First BCCE - Vibrant High School Programming

This summer I had the opportunity to attend my first Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE) in Greeley, Colorado. When I first expressed interest in this conference more than one fellow high school educator told me some version of, “Don’t bother with that. It’s a bunch of stuff for college professors, it won’t be of use to you.” Nothing could have been further from the truth. Yes, much of the programming is directed at a higher-education audience, but many of the workshops and symposia have something to offer for precollege educators and there is a very vibrant and continually growing strand of high-school specific programing.

Establishing a Class Motto

I display and live a class motto in order to give a framework to the scientific intent of my community of learners. My particular motto is a quote from Freeman Dyson: "Science is an objective struggle between the precision of tools and the ambiguities of nature." 

Rocket Fuel for the School Year.....

BCCE 2016 was an amazing couple of days. It is kind of like drinking from a fire hose. Here were some high points that you might find helpful.  As one participant was heard saying, "It is kind of like rocket fuel for the school year."