Living at the macroscopic level, it’s no surprise that understanding and effectively communicating chemistry concepts can often be a challenging endeavor. Attempting to rationalize our observations through particle-level interpretations requires us to think in less intuitive ways that often create a cognitive barrier for our students. And for good reason.
Card sorts are a great way to bring powerful retrieval practice into your classroom. You will find several Card Sort Hacks you can use to step up your game! You can even share these digitally to students to cut and complete at home.
I am sad to relay that Alex Johnstone died just before Christmas at age 89. I have written a short tribute to him because although I never knew him, he helped me make sense of why most of the time we fail, and that when we succeed... it is a triumphal moment!
This past summer our conversations turned to, “How can we improve our instruction to try and prevent the initial misunderstanding?” We had all read Dorothy Gabel’s article Improving Teaching and Learning Through Chemistry Education Research: A Look to the Future. We were intrigued by the author's description of the three fold system of representing concepts in chemistry.