Throw the phrase “chemistry class” at someone to get their reaction. What do you predict it would be? A chalkboard full of stoichiometry problems? Wading through the atomic masses on the periodic table? Bubbling beakers? Something else? In any case, I’m guessing his or her first answer would not be, “Creative writing.”
high school chemistry
Highlights from the January 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education of special interest to high school chemistry teachers.
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.
“You sank my battleship!” Do you remember this line from a classic commercial featuring the board game Battleship? It sat in my family’s game closet when I was a kid, but it’s popping up again recently, with chemistry twists.
Who inspires you? Do you have a “chem teaching rockstar” whose work fires you up as you enter another school year? Is there an author whose work you consistently turn to for his or her insights into the chemistry classroom? Or maybe memories of a past teacher of yours?
It was a familiar childhood sound. You know that sound? A bin of Lego building blocks. You want that one particular piece. You rake through the pieces with both hands, searching. That noise. It was often heard during my younger years and now filters down from my children’s bedrooms upstairs. But, as someone connected with teaching and learning chemistry, I don’t have to leave that toy (or sound) behind.
Our new administrative team now strongly encourages all core content teachers to provide a summer assignment to prepare students for the first day of school. Outside of the summer reading for literature classes, we’ve never done this. I see the potential for class time-savings and improvement of student understanding. Will the students see the possibilities? What should I assign? Is it realistic to expect next year to begin differently?
Although not a chemistry app, I have been using Classkick(link is external) in my chemistry class strictly as a formative assessment tool and wanted to share the many benefits I have found with it. Classkick is a free app that is currently available through the itunes(link is external)store. I use it with the iPads I have in my classroom. Soon, classkick will be available on other devices besides just the iPad.
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?”
Is the cover of the March 2016 issue (see photo) of the Journal of Chemical Education a familiar scene? It is to me. I’ve spent many hours surrounded by shelves full of books and journals, in all of their papery goodness. Paper was the mainstay of my undergraduate searches in the chemistry library, although computer searches (to lead me to paper) also played a role. Since then, the landscape has changed dramatically, with far-reaching effects on both students and educators.