General Resources

A Comparison Between Teaching Chemistry in the United States and Internationally

Whenever I’m asked where I live and what I do, I answer with “I’m a teacher overseas.” The immediate response from people is “English? Peace Corps?” I am a high school science teacher at the American School of Dubai. There is a misconception that teaching somewhere else in the world is drastically different than teaching right in your backyard, and it really isn’t. 

A Class Discussion on the Nature of Science

The first chapter of every middle and high school science textbook I have ever seen contains an oversimplified section on “the scientific method.” I wanted my students to gain an understanding of science by doing science, as best as we can replicate in a classroom, though inquiry labs, class discussions, and defending claims with evidence.

The Teacher Page - An Organizational Tool

The Teacher Page includes all of the notes needed to set up, run, and clean up the particular experiment. It includes a record of where the lab was obtained, a list of chemicals including amounts and their location in the stockroom, notes of any issues experienced (good & bad) and notes of things that might be tried in the future. This will save you much time and repeated effort!

Life as an international school chemistry teacher

The advantages of international schools vary by individual, but certainly the opportunity to travel and see the world is by far the most common reason teachers move overseas. Smaller class sizes are typical, along with fewer teaching periods in your schedule. As an example, I average about 20 students per class right now, teaching 5 of 8 class periods. This is certainly less than my average of 30-35, teaching six of eight class periods at my last public school in the U.S.

Chemical Thinking Interactives

As part of a two-week Chemistry Modeling Workshop™ in Houston, TX, I had the opportunity to read the by Vicente Talanquer of the University of Arizona. I researched Dr. Talanquer and discovered he created a collection of simulations called Chemical Thinking Interactives (CTI). These digital tools illustrate many chemistry topics with a focus on the particulate nature of matter.

Nominate Outstanding High School Chemistry Teachers

In 2006, The Division of Chemical Education endowed an award program, the Regional Award for Excellence in High School Teaching, to recognize and inspire outstanding high school chemistry teachers. Each of the ten Regions of the American Chemical Society solicits nominations for this award. The winners receive $1000, an engraved plaque and travel expenses to the meeting where they are honored.

MolView: An App to View Structural Formulas and Models

What is the best way for students to visualize compounds? From the traditional physical ball and stick models to the various online simulations the objective for all of these tools is to provide one with a visual for the different structures and patterns. This summer while facilitating a workshop, the participants and I discussed this question and while reviewing various representations we came across MolView.

Interactive Bonding Resources from PBS

One of the resources we have vetted is an interactive slideshow from PBS on both ionic and covalent bonds.  Teachers using Modeling Instruction will find these resources elucidate a model of electron behavior which adds to the particle story of matter we have been telling throughout the year.