Blogs

ChemEd X contributors offer their ideas and opinions on a broad spectrum of topics pertaining to chemical education.

Blogs at ChemEd X reflect the opinions of the contributors and are open to comments. Only selected contributors blog at ChemEd X. If you would like to blog regularly at ChemEd X, please use our Contribution form to request an invitation to do so from one of our editors.

Measurement Challenge
by Doug Ragan
Sun, 09/24/2017 - 21:24

As I began to prepare my labs for this upcoming year, I decided to put a bit of a twist on a previous density of a block lab I had used in the past entitled the Measurement Challenge that is sold by Flinn Scientific. This lab requires the students to determine the volume of different size blocks that are made of different materials and then either determine the density of the block by obtaining its mass after measuring and calculating its volume. It can also be used to find the mass of a block given the materials density and requiring students to measure and calculate the blocks volume. My added twist resulted in great scientific discourse. 

Recent activity: 3 hours 45 min ago
Richard Feynman
by Kaleb Underwood
Wed, 09/13/2017 - 21:40

The first chapter of every middle and high school science textbook I have ever seen contains a section on “the scientific method.” As a result, by the time your students get to you they are probably very adept at reciting how science is done, or at least how they think it is done. A short list of easy steps is presented which always, incomprehensibly begins with forming a hypothesis (which some people insist must be an if-then statement), and then BOOM! Science has happened. This oversimplification and the dry exercises I’ve seen used to “teach” it led me to dispense with teaching the scientific method explicitly for several years. Rather, I wanted my students to gain an understanding of science by doing science, as best as we can replicate in a classroom, though inquiry labs, class discussions, and defending claims with evidence.

Recent activity: 1 week 3 days ago
photo of student lab work
by Allison Tarvin
Wed, 09/13/2017 - 20:00

The research says the best way to make your school better is to encourage teachers to participate in professional learning teams that unpack the standards to determine what each student should learn and how the learning will be measured, build a useful warehouse of evidence that learning is occurring, and critically review data collected to determine useful instructional strategies versus ineffective strategies.

Comments: 2
Recent activity: 2 days 2 hours ago
screenshot of the AACT.SCALACS/Oxy Chemistry Teachers Meeting
by Michael Morgan
Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:55

When I first started teaching I was very fortunate that a local teacher invited me to a high school chemistry teachers meeting. I was really young and really motivated to be a better teacher. I registered immediately and went to an all day event. I think I learned more that day than I did in all of my teacher training. It was for chemistry teachers by chemistry teachers. I went to many of these over the years, but they eventually dwindled out. I am happy to say that we have been able to resurrect a new version of this meeting.

Recent activity: 1 week 5 days ago
Density and measuring
by Chad Husting
Tue, 09/05/2017 - 07:54

If you are looking for a measuring and density activity that will be challenging, allow students to experience success early on and can be boxed up to use again, you might consider trying the activity that I am sharing in this post.  

Comments: 7
Recent activity: 1 day 18 hours ago
Big ball small ball
by Chad Husting
Sun, 09/03/2017 - 11:01

I want to share a measuring activity for you to consider. First, start with two baseballs. The first baseball is a regular baseball. The other baseball is called a "small ball". Small balls are the exact same as regular baseballs just smaller. Coaches use these to help players with fielding and hitting. You can buy them at a sporting good store, online or if you are like me, make friends with the baseball coach. Next, get six to eight students to volunteer. Without talking at all the students must hold the normal baseball and the small ball. They then must decide if the normal ball has more, less or the same mass as the small ball.

Comments: 1
Recent activity: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Desktop Clutter
by Dana Hsi
Fri, 09/01/2017 - 10:05

The Teacher Page includes all of the notes I need to set up, run, and clean up the particular experiment. I record from whom I obtained the lab. I list the location of chemicals in the stockroom. I've added what does and does not work, so that I don't have to remember it from year to year. I have notes of things to try in the future. The most important part, however, is the giant spreadsheet to calculate amounts of chemicals needed to make multiple volumes of solutions. This saves so much time and repeated effort!

Recent activity: 3 weeks 2 days ago
Bravo Nerdy awards
by Michael Morgan
Wed, 08/30/2017 - 15:51

It all started with a couple of summers spent on fellowships at the Institute for Chemical Education at the University of Wisconsin: Madison. In 1990 after two years of teaching high school chemistry I transferred to help open a school to specialize in Health and Medical education. I was 23 years old and ready to take on the world. The school’s student body was high poverty, 96% of the students qualified for the federal lunch program, and almost the entire student body was classified as minority. It was a good first year.

This post was submitted for the 2017 ChemEd X Call for Contributions: Creating a Classroom Culture.

Recent activity: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Dance Your Final image
by Dana Hsi
Tue, 08/29/2017 - 13:32

As part of advocating science literacy in my classroom, I have my 10th grade Honors Chemistry students dance their first semester final. This Dance Your Final semester final is to force students to actually read real, published scientific research; have a group final; eliminate test anxiety; and help students have fun with the content. Truly, of all assignments I give during the school year, this is the one that students say they sweat the hardest on, enjoy the most, and are the most proud of their work.

Recent activity: 3 weeks 5 days ago
building a blended culture
by MeyersChemistry
Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:22

During my first year of teaching (in Indianapolis, IN), I was inspired by some research I had read as well as some other teachers in the Indy area who were flipping their classes. I was at a small parochial school where parental and administrative support for technology inclusion was present. My principal outfitted me with the tools I needed to “flip” my classes and record tutorial videos. Things went pretty well. It was a learning curve for many but I also had good feedback from students and parents.

This post was submitted for the 2017 ChemEd X Call for Contributions: Creating a Classroom Culture.

Recent activity: 2 weeks 3 days ago