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I attended and presented at the National AP Conference in Las Vegas on July 18th and 19th! Adding Inquiry to the course is one of the major changes to how we will teach AP Chemistry. I shared some resources and gave tips during my presentation. I am sharing those resource in this post. I am also sharing items that I found especially helpful from presentations that I attended and conversations I had with other teachers.
Summer is one of my favorite times as a teacher! Like most teachers I like to take a little time away from school, but, once I've rested a bit, its my favorite time to do research as well. I encourage you to take time this summer to explore labs and activities that you think may work for your classroom, but just didn't have time to examine with your busy teaching schedule.
I’d like to report on one of the end-of-year research projects that two of my general chemistry students completed during class this year.
Wow! A very neat experiment, called “Hydroglyphics”, published by Kim, Alvarenga, Aizenberg, and Sleeper in the Journal of Chemical Education allows you to transform a common plastic Petri dish into a unique teaching tool to demonstrate the difference between hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. Check it out in the video.
I came across a simple, yet interesting experiment that was first described by Elizabeth Sumner Walter in 2001. She merely had students pour water into a dish containing some Gobstoppers candies. I showed this experiment to some of my college chemistry students while they were working on a different laboratory experiment.
Inquiry is a fluid concept. There are some truly fabulous activities on Grand Valley State University's Target Inquiry (TI) website (www.gvsu.edu/targetinquiry). Yes, I am biased as I was part of the first TI cohort, but there are several labs now that were written later and they, too, are terrific.
I spent my whole prep period today playing with a site I hadn't seen before: PHYSICS 2000 @ http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/index.pl?Page=cover.html. I need to spend some more time there.
Celebrate Earth Day, which is on Monday, April 22, 2013. Earth Day was first officially recognized on April 22, 1970. This year the theme is "Our Earth: Handle with Care." The topics this year include water, air, plants/soil, and recycling.
Whether it is a completely unique idea or just a twist on an old classic, engage in collaboration with other chemistry teachers around the world and publish your work. There are many venues and the pool of precollege chemistry instructors that are already contributing is relatively small.