March 2020 Xchange

The March 2020 Xchange highlights some of the contributions that have been published on ChemEd X over the past month about assessment, gamification of education, advice and tips for grading and other resources as well as outreach opportunities. We hope you will take a moment to check in and see what you may have missed. 

I want to give a special shout out to ACCT, a Boston based group of university researchers, graduate and postdoctoral students, and high school and middle school teachers. ACCT focuses on fostering chemical thinking in middle school, high school and undergraduate classrooms through strategic formative assessment usage. They have partnered with ChemEd X to offer a regular column about their work. They are also inviting New England and some New York high school chemistry teachers and middle school educators that teach some chemistry to apply to be part of the next cohort of their professional development program. If you live and teach in their area, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. 


D Cullen



Apply to join New England high school chemistry teachers, middle school science teachers that teach chemistry in their classes and researchers in a professional development program to examine how formative assessment can foster students' chemical thinking. Applications are due by April 13th, 2020.

Don't miss ACCT's Scott Balicki's blog post:  Scott explains how ACCT uses a volcano probe as a formative assessment tool for learning about how students decide which reactants to use and how to structure the conditions that their reaction occurs under.

green triangle with text: chemical thinking assessing

The idea of a “curriculum emphasis” is that how we teach, including the ways that text books are written and how we write assessments, sends hidden messages to students about what the purposes of science are and are not, and what are the roles of teachers and students in learning science, and who should or should not be included in science.  


One of the hurdles that holds teachers back from implementing standards-based grading is the gradebook. Most schools use an electronic learning management system. Some of these platforms have added customizations to support recording learning targets rather than point values. Even with the upgrades, teachers can benefit from some 'hacks' to assist in recording student achievement. 


The notion is to increase student engagement and persistence by embedding game design elements in a course or lesson. It seems to work in other industries, but can game elements be successfully applied in educational contexts?


Particulate diagrams are all the rage in chemical education. Learn simple tricks to create your own!


In this article, the author describes how he uses student misconceptions that are mentioned in the Chief Reader Report as a guide to help him design and write multiple-choice items for AP Chemistry.


During the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, celebrate CCEW 2020 April 19-25 with the theme, “Protecting Our Planet through Chemistry.” You will find resources and ideas to celebrate as an individual, as part of your own group or by working with other groups in your area.


By using a few simple microscale gas chemistry techniques, students can collect and analyze data quickly. These activities are sure to engage your students.



The March 2020 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Mary Saecker highlights the content along with related links from the archives. 


We hope you enjoy the content mentioned here and other content at ChemEd X. If you find ChemEd X content useful, please consider  to help support ChemEd X. In addition to supporting the free content we make available, you will also get access to our complete  and to help in teaching and learning chemistry. If you would like to contribute content, begin with the . For other questions or comments, please use our .