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JCE ChemEd Xchange provides a place for sharing information and opinions. Currently, articles, blogs and reading lists from ChemEd X contributors are listed below. We plan to include other items that the community wishes to share through their contributions to ChemEd X.

Building Summer Assignments for Next Year’s First-Year Chemistry Students

summer assignments

Our new administrative team now strongly encourages all core content teachers to provide a summer assignment to prepare students for the first day of school. Outside of the summer reading for literature classes, we’ve never done this. I see the potential for class time-savings and improvement of student understanding. Will the students see the possibilities? What should I assign? Is it realistic to expect next year to begin differently?

JCE 93.05 May 2016 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education May 2016 Cover

Thinking Like a Chemist

The May 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: assessment & learning theories, science literacy & chemical information, engaging young chemists in chemistry, analysis of real-world samples, organic chemistry in the classroom and lab, computational chemistry in the laboratory, thermodynamics, kinetics projects, understanding hydrophobic & hydrophilic materials.

Fun and Quick Rates Lab (No pun intended...)

Rates Lab

I am facing what many teachers are facing. It is AP week, I am trying to continue "as usual" with doing labs and learning but this time of year is anything but "as usual". There is a rates lab we do this time of year which is a good lab, rather involved with a significant amount of set up and work. I got an idea for a slightly different rates lab from Bob Worley. I found a similar large scale version from Flinn Scientific. Thanks to Bob, I decided to do a microscale version.

 

A Look Into My General Chemistry Reactions Unit- Supporting Students with Making Connections among the Nanoscopic and Macroscopic

dissolving

Organic chemistry was when I fell in love with chemistry. Also known as Chem 210 at the University of Michigan, it was the first time I actually started to connect what was going on at the nanoscopic level to the macroscopic world. Since then, I’ve been hooked.

 

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.

Is Your Department NGSS Ready? A Review of “What Professional Development Strategies Are Needed for Successful Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards?” by Brian J. Reiser

Adapted from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, by the National Research Council, 2012, Figure 3-1, Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

With the end of the school year approaching, educators are not only developing their semester exams, they are preparing for the upcoming school year as well. Although each individual educator has their own approach to improving their curriculum, many will be spending their time off aligning their curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards. Currently eighteen states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, with additional states developing their own modified version. The idea of revising curriculum for each and every course can be daunting as educators try to identify a common theme that can be applied throughout the entire department. So where do we start? How do we thread a common theme for the professional development provided in our subject area?
 

Clarifying Electron Configurations

We’ve all seen and use the so-called Aufbau Diagram. It is a mnemonic used to remember the order of “filling” of atomic orbitals during the construction of the ground state electron configurations of the elements. The presentation of this diagram is largely disconnected from any physical meaning. Here’s what we tell our students: “Memorize the diagram, learn to use it, and you’re guaranteed to get the right answer.”

Conversations, Confessions, Confusions (and hopefully some Clarity) on Electronic Configurations

A complete understanding of why each element has a particular electronic configurations is a very complex subject. Even so, some confusion regarding the electronic configurations of the elements may be alleviated by looking at the physical properties of the electronic orbitals.

Kinetics Review

Demo

In one of my last blog posts I wrote of how I sometimes enjoy ending a unit with a series of demonstrations and using them to elicit a dialog between the students and myself to check for understanding. It is always a fascinating experience to hear the misconceptions that many students have the day before the test.