ChemEd X articles address topics in chemical education ranging across the entire spectrum of the chemical sciences.
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A New Year with a New Volume of Resources The January 2015 issue marks the start of the 92nd volume of the Journal of Chemical Education and is now available online at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/92/1. This issue features colorful chemistry; using stories and writing to learn; demystifying chemistry literature; cost-effective activities and materials; experimenting with chromatography and natural products.
Celebrating the International Year of Crystallography The December 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available for subscribers online at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/12. The December issue includes content on: crystallography, assessment, career development for undergraduates, problem solving in organic chemistry, and teaching physical chemistry. This latest issue of JCE plus the content of all past issues, volumes 1 through 91, are available at http://pubs.acs.org/jchemeduc.
This article describes a three week lesson plan for teaching stoichiometry using an algorithmic method. Two labs (one designed as a laboratory quiz) several cooperative learning exercises, student worksheets and guided instructional frameworks (forcing students to develop good habits in writing measures and doing problem solving) are included. The highlight of the lessons is the "chemistry carol" (based on Felix Mendelssohn's music for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") in which students recite a five-step algorithm for completing stoichiometry problems. While algorithmic processes may not always be best, I have found that there are many benefits to giving students a firm background and something to always fall back upon in one of the more challenging topics of chemistry. I believe that the good habits developed in this method of stoichiometry carry through to all the rest of their chemistry work, making it much easier to use inquiry-based methods when doing other advanced chemistry topics.
Engaging and Sustaining Students' Interest in Chemistry The November 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/11. The November issue content includes content on water chemistry, diversity and women in science, professional development, teaching with technology, electrochemistry, and more.
Last Thursday (11/6/14) I attended a workshop on NGSS through our local RESA (essentially an ISD for the county/region). I’d like to touch on some of the things I took away from this workshop and will post again after the next follow-up workshops in December and March.
Communicating the Value of Chemistry The October 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is available online to subscribers [http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/10]. The October issue features sustainability; celebrating National Chemistry Week 2014 with articles on food and candy; increasing chemistry understanding for the nonscientist; nanochemistry; investigating materials: plastic & paper; exploring sound; research on chemical equilibrium instruction and student understanding of scale.
Advanced Placement Chemistry Special Issue The September 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is available online to subscribers [http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/9]. The September issue features a special issue of 20 contributions on Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry as well as many other articles to help students learn chemistry.
Using Models for Learning Chemistry The August 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/8. The August issue contains content to spark thinking about models and how to foster meaningful learning in chemistry classrooms and improve student understanding.
The Royal Society of Chemistry became increasingly frustrated in 2004 when academics (the “when I was a lad” variety”), National Tabloids (it’s “‘elf un safety gone mad” variety), and many teachers were quoting health & safety fears as the reasons not to do practical science work and demonstrations.
Every year when the day came to discuss the rules for significant figures in measurements with my classes I would write the rules on the board, we’d work through a couple examples, and I’d try to find a way to explain why we needed to use them when reporting measurements. This has never been my favorite topic to teach, mostly because I had a difficult time helping students see why these rules for measurement and reporting uncertainty were important.