ChemEd X articles address topics in chemical education ranging across the entire spectrum of the chemical sciences.
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The May 2021 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: teaching biochemistry, assessment, learning to think like a scientist, environmental chemistry, forensic chemistry, surface chemistry, solution mixing, organic chemistry laboratory experiments and activities, computer-based experiences, research on promoting student success, from the archives: systems thinking.
POGIL activities can be used to engage students in chemistry lessons through the use of student teams, effective models, and tiered questioning. Kristen Drury and Stephanie O'Brien presented in a ChemEd X Talk on April 21, 2021 and provided teachers with guidance on fostering student buy-in, student role formation, and POGIL implementation. Additionally, information was shared on how to assess students' participation in POGIL activities holistically and through individual examination of process skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem solving. You can watch the edited recording of their Talk here.
Interested in Chemical Education? Want to attend an international conference? Did you know that the Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society (DivCHED) funds a Travel Award each year? The Chemical Education International Travel Award is in support of a division member who presents and fully participates in an international chemical education conference held outside the U.S.
The April 2021 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: environmental chemistry; curriculum innovation; redesigning courses; representation in chemistry textbooks; public understanding of chemistry; teaching with models; visual and aural demonstrations; teaching chemistry with inks and pigments; examining the chemistry of beer; synthesis in the laboratory; improving student understanding of analysis; instrumentation; chemistry education research; from the archives: resources for celebrating Earth Week 2021.
Collisions is a system of eight digital games, grounded in the rules of chemistry, that can be used to introduce, teach, and review more than 50 key concepts in your chemistry classroom. Collisions makes abstract concepts tangible by allowing students to visualize and manipulate the building blocks of matter, while providing a safe space to make mistakes and learn by introducing content through gameplay. On March 24th, 2021, Jen Lee presented a ChemEd X Talk about how instructors can use these games with their high school and college students. Besides explaining how the games work and interconnect, she outlined how to find and use premade lesson plans and answered questions posed by participants. You can watch the edited recording of Jen's Talk here.
The session begins by asking participants to discuss teaching dilemmas and identify those that have come up for them at their school or in their instruction. Participants focus on examining and commenting on their videos, specifically with regard to eliciting and advancing moves. They then learn about the advantages and purposes for taking a dialogic or an authoritative stance when probing students’ chemical thinking. Time is set aside to support teachers with adjusting or modifying their final formative assessment and receiving feedback from their peers before they give the FA to their students.
The goal for session 8 is to focus on the formative assessment enactment model. Teachers revisit the formative assessment enactment model and reflect upon its versatility and value for classroom use. This session uses videos of student discourse to help participants grapple with the critical aspects of the Formative Assessment Enactment Model. Participants explore a spectrum of teacher decision-making in the moment with regard to questioning students. Participants examine and analyze the following: eliciting moves; how to narrow or open up student responses; advancing moves; and whether to use directing or responding questions.
Session 7 returns to cognitive interviewing as a formative assessment strategy and focuses on noticing and interpreting student thinking during the interview process. The session begins with participants examining their cognitive interviews with a partner. They are asked to notice the chemistry content that the students are grappling with and the connections to the chemical thinking framework. The focus is to analyze teacher questions to consider if they are eliciting ideas or advancing students' thinking toward a correct answer. During this session participants consider three ways that students typically frame a discussion with a teacher -- as inquiry, oral examination, or expert interview. Participants practice identifying which frame a student is assuming, to consider the way asking a question could influence how a student responds. Discussion leads to revisiting the teaching dilemmas (conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political) that come up when employing formative assessments that aim to strengthen students’ chemical thinking.
Session 6 focuses on cognitive interviewing as a formative assessment strategy that is conducted between a teacher and one student to elicit students’ thinking. The teacher interviews one student at a time with a set of probing questions that uncovers conceptual understanding. Key elements to consider in developing and using cognitive interviewing with a formative assessment are: the questions are open ended, you are not assessing whether the student answers are right or wrong, it is not a time to correct student thinking (it is a time for noticing, not for teaching) and provides an opportunity to listen to students’ thinking to collect data. Teachers will have time during the session to practice thinking like a student.
This 3 hour session continues to build a collaborative learning community and deepen understanding of students’ chemical thinking by comparing different teaching moves and how these moves promote the development of sense-making with chemistry concepts. The session begins with teachers reviewing classroom videos that were submitted for homework from a past ACCT cohort. Teachers bring three copies of de-identified student work samples from a recent formative assessment. Using a looking at student work protocol small groups of teachers look for evidence of chemical thinking and note what ideas are revealed and generated in the student’s written work. The small group discussions align with the overarching goal of increasing capacity for interpreting the assumptions about chemistry underlying student ideas based on written work samples that are reviewed.