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Best of ChemEd Sessions

Tuesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 29 will be sessions for our free American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) Virtual Summer Symposia.  The schedule of these sessions will be announced in May 2021. Registration will open in May on the AACT website. Sign up to receive receive email updates. (12:00 to 3:00 pm EST)

Anjana Iyer and Catherine Zavacki, chemistry teachers with periodic table t-shirts in front of a periodic table

Kinesthetic Chemistry for All  

Catherine Zavacki and Anjana Iyer, Hillsborough High School, NJ  

Using Kinesthetic activities to think beyond labs and demos that allows the opportunity for the inclusion of all learners.

Bob Worley and Andres Tretiakov in front of a ChemEd 2019 banner

The Microscale Agenda: Up Close and Personal 

Andres Tretiakov and 
Physics Technician, St Paul’s School and
Bob Worley
Chemistry Adviser, CLEAPSS, UK

Going online can offer us the chance to show how microscale techniques can focus the viewer into the intimate world of romance and drama between ambitious sub-micro particles. A RomChem adventure. Andres Tretiakov and Bob Worley from the UK will show videos of chemical reactions and physical phenomena that the teacher can use to explain what is happening at the submicro (nano) level. Being small, means being green as well.

Steven Sogo at NSTA 

Steve Sogo, Laguna Beach High School, Laguna Beach, CA is a new website with chemistry games and simulations created using the video game engine Unity. This session will provide an overview of the variety of games and simulations suitable for use from middle school to college. The simulations look and feel like video games, but teach valuable concepts including chemical bonding, thermodynamics, and chemical reactions.  New simulations are constantly being developed and added to the website.


Smartphone Spectroscopy Summary

Dr. John O’Donoghue, School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

This summary session will provide details and resources for a simple experiment that touches on many core chemistry concepts such as particle theory, colour, spectrophotometry, dilutions and concentrations. This simple activity strips spectrophotometry back to its most basic components and removes the “black box” effect of modern commercial devices. It can be set for learners to try at home with a responsible adult or used as a hands-on classroom experiment or demonstration.

Doug Ragan

Making Chemistry Visible with Magnets

Doug Ragan, Hudsonville High School, Hudsonville, MI

From my Chemistry Concepts students to my Organic students, many topics of chemistry can be taught with the use of colored magnets. Using printed atomic and molecular templates available for you or your students to download, I will demonstrate how I use them to teach everything from atomic structure to balancing equations, to molecular modeling and much more.

Alfredo Luis Mateus

My PET demonstrations – make a bottle, carve a can and more

Alfredo Luis Mateus, COLTEC – Colégio Técnico da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

In this session I will present a few chemical demonstrations using simple materials. The demonstrations can be turned into hands-on labs and have a common feature: in the end you have something that can be used and can be made to be unique. Students can be encouraged to make a personalized version of the final product. It will be shown how to make a bottle from a plastic preform, how to cut an aluminum can with a chemical reaction and make a lantern, how to make a hydrophobic maze and that plastics remember their shape. These demonstrations were presented at ChemEd 2013 in Waterloo.  

Michael Jansen

My Chemistry Education Research Group

Michael P Jansen, Crescent School, Toronto, ON

Rather than a traditional Chemistry Club that focuses on activities, my colleague and I run a weekly Chemistry Education Research Group. Students prepare labs for curricular use, collect data for Thought Labs, or answer questions of an empirical nature. Examples include: chemical kinetic studies, microwave oven-prepared esters, microtitrations (acid-base and redox), thermochemistry studies, answer questions involving the ideal gas-law, isolating Bismuth from Pepto-Bismol, to name a few . . .

Covid forced me to get creative with my course assessments, and it actually worked!

Kate Stuttaford, University of Guelph, Guelph ON

I wanted my instrumental analysis course to be interesting and engaging even though it was all online.  I had a one live session with the class each week and wanted to make the most of it by getting them to work with me and each other.  I also wanted to challenge myself to think beyond the traditional assessment methods (quizzes, exams, group presentations, research papers).  What I ended up with was some creative storytelling, builds in Minecraft, a flip book, some videos, some poetry, a Jack-o-lantern, the results of some Google searches, a bank of information needed to set up an instrumental lab and a class that really seemed to enjoy it all.  To quote one student “you saved my sanity”.

K Perkins

Engaging students and supporting learning with PhET simulations

Dr. Kathy Perkins, PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder, CO

Whether teaching remotely or in-person, interactive simulations are flexible tools for teaching chemistry content while also fostering engagement, reasoning, modeling and sense-making. Learn how to incorporate simulations into your classrooms, facilitate inquiry-based activities, and engage students in science practices. Take home new ideas and lessons you can implement immediately.

Kristen Drury

Flip the Script on Flipped Classroom

Kristen Drury, William Floyd High School, Long Island, NY

Flipping the classroom has many connotations and teachers flip in all different ways. This talk is less about how to flip and more about how flipping can work for you. The talk will provide ideas for when recorded lessons will be the most valuable for students, the length of videos that is most recommended, how to monitor students, and how to keep inquiry alive in this environment. 

Ann Schmitt

Implementing Claim, Evidence and Reasoning (CER) in your classroom

Anne Schmidt, Bay Port High School & Bellin College, WI

Incorporate CER in your classroom in order to help your chemistry students think like scientist and craft better scientific explanations. Examples of guiding questions will be used to create CER activities that should enhance student engagement, increase chemical knowledge, and improve scientific reasoning abilities. Guiding questions will be from experiments, animations/simulations, and chemical concepts to create CER activities that you can use with your students.

Binyomin Abrams

Beyond Bohr: replacing the Bohr atomic model with an accessible picture of how atoms and light interact

Dr. Binyomin Abrams, Boston University and Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, Boston, MA

Many students retain substantial inaccuracies and misconceptions about the nature of atoms, even after completing multiple years of chemistry education. Some of the most resilient misconceptions relating to atomic structure involve electron particles moving on a set path – like planets in an orbit or in orbiting shells. Most of these misconceptions arise from classical analogies and misleading metaphors used in instruction and textbooks, including teaching the Bohr model first and foremost. Instead of the traditional (historical) approach to teaching atomic structure, we follow an alternative approach to teaching introductory students about light-matter interactions at the atomic level that avoids introducing deprecated and inaccurate models, meets all of the traditional learning outcomes (and more), yet does not rely on an overly mathematical approach.

Nikita Burrows

The introduction of gamification in the chemistry classroom.

Nikita Burrows, Monmouth University, Long
Branch, NJ

Ariel Serkin

Using Modeling Instruction to create an equitable chemistry classroom

Ariel Serkin, Norfolk County Agricultural High School, Walpole, MA