Session 1 at a Glance

This 3 hour session provides an introduction to the Assessing for Change in Chemical Thinking (ACCT) professional development series. Session 1 provides an overview of the three program components that drive ACCT sessions: The Chemical Thinking Model, the Formative Assessment Enactment Model and Teaching Dilemmas. Teachers have time to get to know each other and begin to build a collaborative professional learning community. Participants complete a chemistry formative assessment and then explore student work related to that assessment. The Chemical Thinking Framework is discussed in more detail, highlighting the related chemistry practices. The six overarching objectives, the central focus of the ACCT course, are introduced; they will be revisited in each workshop session. Teachers will also learn about the value of using video in their classroom.

Value of videoing your classroom instruction

Michael and Rebecca discuss the value that videoing classroom discourse brings to their teaching practice


Session objectives: 

In this first session, teachers will:

  • Become familiar with the elements of the ACCT course
  • Begin to notice how students use chemistry knowledge to make sense of chemical problems 
  • Explore how a formative assessment reveals student thinking and accessibility for all learners

Participant Agenda: 

  1. Presentation: Introduction and Orientation 
  2. Video and Discussion: Volcano Probe
  3. Activity: Looking at Student Work 
  4. Discussion: Chemical Thinking and Model
  5. Discussion: Orientation to program components 
  6. Course logistics 
  7. Expectations and homework


Full Download (zipped folder)

ACCT Program Components focused on in this session

Chemical Thinking Thread: Chemical control 

Formative Assessment Enactment ModelEliciting

Teacher Dilemmas: Conceptual teacher dilemma

Tips for the facilitator 

The Volcano probe formative assessment (FA) used in this session focuses on chemical control. Teachers should walk away with increased understanding that chemical control thinking is visible in how students consider which variables to control (and which variables they don’t consider), and what are the ways they think those variables affect the reaction (what are the models of chemical reactions that they are relying on). Additional background information on Chemical Control can be found here.

A major goal of this session is to help teachers to recognize value in the resources students bring to learning chemistry. Intuitive ways of thinking are valid and relevant in some circumstances, but tend to be overextended especially when they are the only way of thinking a student relies on. Educating students involves expanding ways of thinking students can rely on in different circumstances, and capacities for judging contexts and justifying which way of thinking is most appropriate in a specific circumstance. Intuitive ways of thinking are resources that can be leveraged and clarified as students also build more ways of thinking that rely on models in chemistry. 

Creating classroom size posters of the three components (Chemical Thinking, Formative Assessment Enactment,Teaching Dilemmas) and displaying them for all to see provides visual access for all participants as they work. It allows participants to be “keepers of the knowledge.” They serve to link learning over time and encourage the integration of these models into the dialogue of each session.