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.
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."
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."
During our review since last week, resonance was labeled as one of the most tricky concepts (along with electron pushing in my opinion), despite lots of practice and instruction. My teaching sequence consists of defining and providing examples of conjugation (after learning about hybridization), delocalized electrons, and finally pushing electrons if conjugation exists. I remember from teaching at the college level that resonance was also a tricky topic for many undergraduates.
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. 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?
In a dramatic movie trailer voice: “The Boiling Point. Gone without a trace. Or were they? The scene… a mystery. Had they disappeared? Been broken up into unrecognizable pieces? Can our hero find the answer? Or will it be too late?”
One of my favorite things to talk about with my colleagues is the use of lecture demonstrations in teaching. There seems to be a push in my district to stop using chemicals whenever possible and get to computer simulations and video in place of wet chemistry. I don’t think they are thrilled with me since I can’t envision ever taking the chemistry out of chemistry.
I run an after school STEM club that involves many projects and activities. Students build robots for FIRST Robotics, race RC cars, use 3D printers, and build underwater vehicles. They dissect specimens, and create biodiesel from vegetable oil. So why would I bring this up on the Chemed Xchange? Our science club does chemistry activities, we are an ACS Chem Clubs, but I think there are many other benefits to this kind of club.
Using a whiteboard or poster paper each group of students creates their interpretation of the model thus far based on a content unit they are given.
Late last school year at a staff meeting, teachers were informed that we were going to be coached and encouraged to introduce more vocabulary instruction to