If you teach AP Chemistry, you can probably identify with one or more of the following issues. Read on.
- You feel isolated, because you are the only AP Chemistry teacher at your school.
- You are unable to attend conferences such as ChemEd or BCCE, but you want to make connections and collaborate with other AP Chemistry teachers.
- Your students are good at solving problems in an algorithmic, "plug-and-chug" way, but they don't have a strong understanding of important chemical concepts.
- Your students struggle with writing answers to free response questions, especially those that ask them to explain observations or justify a claim.
- You are aware of your students' misconceptions and their common mistakes, and you're looking for ways to help them improve their understanding of chemistry.
- You feel comfortable with what's working well for you in your classroom, but you'd like to get some new ideas by talking with other AP Chemistry teachers.
According to the information on their web site, APTeach is a collaborative research project from Carnegie Mellon University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Stony Brook University. It is intended to be an online teacher-professional development community, that brings AP Chemistry teachers together. The mission of APTeach is to create a collaborative community where teachers can share ideas about student miconceptions, pedagogy, improving student understanding, and implementing best practices for teaching chemistry. If you teach AP Chemistry and you're interested in joining these conversations, then you should definitely check out APTeach.org.
Recent live discussions at APTeach.org included the following.
- Tools for Online Instruction
- Writing "Kitchen Sink" Questions (that cover a wide variety of different Units)
- Developing Online Authentic Assessment
- AP Classroom and Reviewing for the AP Chemistry Exam
Figure 1: APTeach has an archive of video recordings