April 2018 Xchange

Earth day is nearly upon us. Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) celebrates its 15th anniversary, April 22 – 28, 2018, with the theme "Dive into Marine Chemistry." You can check out their if you are interested in the theme. Of course, many of us are trying to green up our schools, classrooms and curriculum all year long. Beyond Benign lead teacher, Ann Lambert, shared a greener version of the traditional hydrate lab in March. Her post is highlighted below. If you have revised activities or labs to create greener versions, I invite you to share them with the ChemEd X community. You can submit your ideas using the .


Deanna Cullen

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ~ John Muir


The Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE) will be held at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana from July 29 through August 2, 2018. This is an excellent professional development opportunity for high school and college chemistry instructors. This year, there is even a one-day .


One main focus of the NGSS is for students to communicate explanations describing the causes of phenomena they have investigated, accompanied with arguments that provide compelling reasons to accept the explanation. Having used the claim-evidence-reasoning (CER) scaffold for a couple of years now to support students in writing scientific arguments, author Dustin Williams thinks it has provided some good structure. This being said, it has also provided some challenges. The biggest challenge he has had with the CER approach is helping students see the difference between “evidence” and “reasoning”.


NGSS crosscutting concepts and core ideas are intended to be used as evidence to support explanations and arguments. The author has found several lists of chemistry core ideas online, but thinks they are either too long or written with language that is not suitable for novice learners of chemistry. So, he compiled a list of the crosscutting concepts and 12 core ideas for high school chemistry that his students can use to support the explanations and arguments he will be asking them to write.


Many teachers use the traditional "Formula of a Hydrate" lab using copper II sulfate in a crucible over a bunsen burner flame. The author is a lead teacher for Beyond Benign. She and her colleague have reworked that lab to be greener and safer.


Need a really simple way to spice up extra practice? A heat map could be used with any topic when you feel like you need a day of extra practice but a one-size-fits-all worksheet won’t cut it. The author provides template of the heat map in the supporting information.


All too often teachers use POGIL activities as worksheets when the teacher is absent, busy work to review a topic, or handouts for homework. However, using the POGIL activities in this manner does not allow the students to reap all the benefits of the activity. This article is designed to give you a glimpse into what the POGIL process can do for you.


Mary Saecker highlights the contents of the April 2018 issue. The theme is “Placing Chemistry into a World Context”. Besides summarizing the manuscripts in this issue, she digs into the archives to highlight related manuscripts from past issues.


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