I have been on a mission lately to make scientists out of my students. I am long past my fears that they are not capable of discovering the world for themselves or that they won’t learn the content if we spend too much time on science practices. What I have to work on now is orchestrating the experience. The pedagogy underlying Modeling Instruction has become the backbone for much of my instruction lately. This method of instruction not only gives my students an engaging, authentic scientific experience but has resulted in deeper content knowledge.
I just wanted to share a resource that I have been using since I started teaching AP chemistry last year.
A great book for summer reading is "Rust: the longest war".
Cars rusting! Bridges collapsing! Rust, and corrosion in general, is probably the most important topic that is not on most people's radar. This is definitely something people should be paying more attention to.
This book is not about chemistry, and it probably is the most "literary" book that I have written about in these pages. It is a beautiful story about the lives of a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, who escapes during the Nazi occupation of France with her father, the master locksmith of the Paris Museum of Natural History, to St. Malo, where lives her great-uncle in a grand house by the sea.
This book has helped me to uncover student misconceptions and look into their thought processes regularly. A supervisor gave me the book in August, and it sat on my nightstand for several weeks. In my mind, it was going to be another book about visual learners and strategies for using images to increase engagement. I WAS WRONG. This book is different. It is not about visual learning; it focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever.
xkcd is a nerdy Internet daily cartoon that is written and drawn by a former NASA "roboticist". The subject matter is all over the map [yesterday's (11/4/14) is about TypographicChemistry], but tends to favor physics and computing. He encourages readers of the cartoon strip to send him outrageous questions, and he supplies outrageous but scientifically accurate responses. Some of the best of these have be come a surprising NYT Best Seller.
The Higgs boson is one of our era’s most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on the subject, The God Particle, was a bestseller.
Journalist Will Storr provides sixteen vignettes about people who hold decidedly minority views about scientific and historical topics. Rather than just saying, "This is what these people believe, and here is why they are wrong", Storr allows each of them to tell their own story, and lets their words speak largely for themselves.
Simon Singh uses mathematical tidbits planted by the nerds and geeks who write The Simpsons to lead the reader on an excursion through some amazing mathematics. The book will appeal to the kind of person who might read JCE, and others with some mathematical background and interest.