decision making

My First Experience Using Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) in the IB Chemistry Classroom

Whiteboard for C.E.R. Discussion

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.

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

Claims, Evidence & Reasoning example

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.

JCE 93.08 August 2016 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education August 2016

Endowing Inspiration

The August 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: blue bottle reaction revisited; precollege professional development; chemical education research on intermolecular interactions and bonding; integrated courses; activities involving kinetics, enzymes, and gases; nanomaterial & polymer laboratories; organic synthesis; NMR teaching resources; book recommendations for summer reading.

JCE 93.07 July 2016 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education July 2016

Exploration of Instrument Design and Performance

The July 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: cost-effective instrumentation, including 3D printed instruments and low-cost spectroscopy; laboratory instrumentation and equipment; effective teaching assistants in chemistry; laboratory experiments; resources for teaching; puzzles and games to introduce the periodic table.

The Art of the Chemical Demonstration


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.

What Not To Do Lab

What Not To Do Lab

During the first week of school, I welcome my students to the What Not To Do Lab. The PDF is available for free at the Laboratory Safety Institute website. I use the cartoon activity to review their Safety Contract handout from the night before (I use the one from FLINN Scientific). With more than 30 safety violations shown, the cartoon serves as a great ice breaker as I have each student introduce themselves and then list a safety infraction being shown on the cartoon.

Time required: 

This can be completed easily within a 50 min class period.

Teacher as Researcher

Teacher Researcher

n teaching we regularly change our class structures and routines and we implement new “interventions” in hopes of changing classroom dynamics or reaching more students.  I know that most of the time I make these decisions based upon anecdotal evidence, perhaps after glancing at a handful of exit tickets from my students or based upon how I “felt” the class went.  Recently, though, I’m finding myself a little more hesitant when making a claim about my class.  I require that my students support their claims with evidence, so why wouldn’t I also support mine with evidence? 


JCE 92.01—January 2015 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education January 2015 Cover

A New Year with a New Volume of Resources The January 2015 issue marks the start of the 92nd volume of the Journal of Chemical Education and is now available online at This issue features colorful chemistry; using stories and writing to learn; demystifying chemistry literature; cost-effective activities and materials; experimenting with chromatography and natural products.