Picks

Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie

John Hattie is a guy who spent twenty five years doing over 50000 meta analysis studies on about 80 million students and wrote a book called “Visible Learning”. He has also done a number of TED talks. Essentially, he asks the question, “What affects students learning?” and clearly as well as simply defines what an “effect” is. He told the story of a researcher who spent years recording classroom interactions from the perspective of the student and the teacher. The researcher was surprised to learn that about seventy percent of learning was not visible to the teacher. So..even the best teachers with the best data only get about thirty percent of the picture. Next came the book, Visible Learning for Teachers and the website “Visible Learning Plus”.

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

https://xkcd.com/thing-explainer/

How did someone figure that out? Can you explain to me why this happens? No matter the topic, individuals are always seeking information as they look to explain complex objects and theories. “Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words” by Randall Munroe uses only one thousand of the most common words to explain various inventions and phenomena in the field of physical science.

Argument-Driven Inquiry in Chemistry: Lab Investigations for Grades 9 - 12

argument driven inquiry

I have been on a mission lately to make scientists out of my students. I am long past my fears that they are not capable of discovering the world for themselves or that they won’t learn the content if we spend too much time on science practices. What I have to work on now is orchestrating the experience. The pedagogy underlying Modeling Instruction has become the backbone for much of my instruction lately. This method of instruction not only gives my students an engaging, authentic scientific experience but has resulted in deeper content knowledge.

Why I think I love Atomsmith...

I first stumbled upon Atomsmith at Chem Ed 2015. Totally loved the way you could pop up a number of molecules on the big screen and move them around. They had really cool stuff like showing and modeling phase changes with water. They demonstrated the ability to show quantum orbitals in which you can see all of the clouds combined and then separate the electron clouds into individual orbitals. I was all set to jump in feet first and then my heart sank...they had it on everything but chromebooks (which is what we use at my school). The presenter suggested that I contact the good people at Atomsmith. They have been working on an online version that runs on chromebooks.

Self-Healing Concrete

Typically we think that the wear and tear of automobiles on the roads causes concrete roads to deteriorate, eventually causing potholes and requiring the use of patching. Regular maintenance, like patching, gets expensive over time. If we were to zoom in on a microscopic level we’d see microscopic cracks that allow in water, salts, and ice. Since ice has the ability to expand, the tiny little cracks will become big noticeable cracks.