This year in the midwest United States, winter has been a fickle friend. I haven’t seen the same amount of snow or ice as in recent years, but I still made sure I was prepared for it at our home. I went to my local big box hardware store in December and contemplated buying rock salt (NaCl), and NaCl/calcium chloride mixture, or just calcium chloride. Growing up my dad had switched entirely to calcium chloride because it was less damaging to the brick pavers leading to our porch and backyard. In fact, calcium chloride is generally much safer toward plants and soil than NaCl. Even though calcium chloride is much more expensive than rock salt (it was about twice the cost for 10 pounds more), that what’s I chose. Why?
This year our school, through a unique set of circumstances, had final exams before winter break, two weeks of break and then one week left in the semester after break before second semester officially ends. It is a weird situation. We were in the middle of gas laws and now have to pick up where we left off after the kids have not been attending school for two weeks.
Last year, I researched and practiced what I thought to be "flipping the classroom". But, now that I am taking part in a district-wide "High School Blended Learning Pilot", I can say that I was attempting blended learning early in my teaching career. You see, the flipped classroom is really a small subtype of blended learning. So, the goal of this post is to define blended learning and share what my professional development has in store for me during this academic year.
Check out this overview of what a PBL unit has looked like in my classroom. I provide concrete examples and an outline of how I plan a project.
During our recent chemistry summer camp, we used some electrochemistry activities. We had some logistical issues, but they were an overal success!
The video displays a neat trick you can do for your students. What do you suppose is the secret behind this trick? Hint: It has to do with chemistry!
Yesterday I posted about Day 1 of the Chemistry Camp
Oh summertime! My non-teacher friends and neighbors like to point out that it must be great having summers off from work. I try to explain that I’m still working although it’s really nice having a break from the students. And I know that a lot of colleagues in my PLN on Twitter are enjoying their break from students too while still spending some time working on upcoming challenges and curriculum designs.
In a previous blog post, I shared my thoughts about the importance of science teachers (and all teachers, really) supporting their claims about lesson efficacy with evidence. While this doesn’t always need to be a formal research study, it can often be valuable to publish findings that will be helpful to other science teachers.
These tenets set PBL (the big once-per-semester projects) apart from day to day activities and inquiry:
PBL poses an authentic problem with multiple solutions.
PBL requires core subject knowledge to propose solutions to a problem to an authentic audience.