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Over the past two years, I have immersed myself in designing mobile games for organic chemistry: founding a company called Alchemie and building a team to develop these games. The first of our games is called Chairs! (The exclamation point comes from the fact that an app called Chairs already existed in the AppStore.) The game Chairs! is what we call our proof-of-concept. Folks were a bit incredulous when we told them we design games that make learning organic chemistry intuitive and fun.
Yesterday I posted about Day 1 of the Chemistry Camp
My goal with this summer camp was to expose students to the chemistry of things around us - plants, food, batteries, fuel, etc. Fortunately, by studying plant pigments and photosynthesis, students were able to learn about and utilize common lab techniques.
Oh summertime! My non-teacher friends and neighbors like to point out that it must be great having summers off from work. I try to explain that I’m still working although it’s really nice having a break from the students. And I know that a lot of colleagues in my PLN on Twitter are enjoying their break from students too while still spending some time working on upcoming challenges and curriculum designs.
View the semifinalist videos for the ChemEd 2015 "So You Think You Can Demo" contest.
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I am teaching this summer and it is especially exciting as I am piloting the labs I wrote this spring. We are using these labs exclusively and I am collecting student feedback for each lab to help in the editing, refining, and revision process.
In a previous blog post, I shared my thoughts about the importance of science teachers (and all teachers, really) supporting their claims about lesson efficacy with evidence. While this doesn’t always need to be a formal research study, it can often be valuable to publish findings that will be helpful to other science teachers.
If videos are the method of choice for my students’ free time learning, then why do they sometimes struggle to hear and make sense of the chemistry content in my short teaching videos?
These tenets set PBL (the big once-per-semester projects) apart from day to day activities and inquiry:
PBL poses an authentic problem with multiple solutions.
PBL requires core subject knowledge to propose solutions to a problem to an authentic audience.
My IB chemistry class is currently working its way through organic chemistry. One of the topics studied is the free-radical mechanism for the halogenation of an alkane.