From: Fiona Rae (FRae@hopkinton.k12.ma.us)
Date: Tue Mar 04 2003 - 09:36:32 EST
We start off with the atom, (introduce sig figs and scientific notation with a density lab), then move onto electron config, periodic table, bonding, gas laws, solids + liquids, before doing moles. I agree about the math at the beginning of the year. It turns a lot of level 2 students off chemistry before they start if they come with weak math skills.
From: Jeff Bulgrin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 4:22 PM
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkchemistry] Chemistry of life
You mentioned that you don't start off the year with moles. What IS your sequence of topics? I'm a first-time chem teacher (also teaching bio & physics too) and I dislike starting off with lots of math, but I haven't thought of a better way to do it. Any suggestions?
----- Original Message -----
From: Fiona Rae <mailto:FRae@hopkinton.k12.ma.us>
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 12:42 PM
Subject: [Channel-talkchemistry] Chemistry of life
First a comment on the effective classroom strategies. I certainly need to keep hearing these and see what I can improve on, and what is slipping. I started "math buddies" this year when a started moles. Happily we don't teach moles at the beginning of the year and so the students are comfortable with the class environment by the time we hit that place in the curriculum. I have found that the weaker students will be pulled up by a having a math buddy to check homework answers or hearing a different explanation in kid terms while they work on problems in class. The student also doesn't have to wait until I help three other students en route to them. So far I like what is happening in class. I definitely have fewer kids in crisis mode right now!
On to the video. I don't have the bio background to draw from for the Chem of Life so will have to do some reading. However even the cereal demo showing the iron at the beginning of the year would be a great way to start them talking about everyday chemistry. "Look at what you are eating!" The reference to drugs affecting the body's equilibrium, and in acids and bases, with poisoning, how diluting is not enough, are both very interesting as teenagers are well aware of both (peers, and babysitting). I have tried the reb cabbage indicators and found it to be great. (The blackberries and blueberries may be too tempting a snack for some though.)
Just as I start reactions and how chemists are always looking for ractions to make new or better products I need to bring in that idea of the very best selective reactions having no byproducts. Perhaps if I send the students away to mull over the question of what makes the best reaction...?
I think that if I could get a quick synopsis of what the students do in bio I would have been better prepared for this video. It's all in the connections they make.