Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Reactions in Chemistry
Sub Image2:Macro to Micro Structures

Workshop Overview

Reactions in Chemistry, and further, reactions to chemistry, are the focus of this educational workshop from Annenberg Media. It is a multimedia workshop for chemistry teachers’ professional development, consisting of video, this print guide, and a Web site. The workshop focuses on the "four elements" of chemistry teaching:

  • Chemistry as a scientific discipline
  • The art of educational pedagogy
  • The historical development of chemistry
  • Up-to-date technological applications

The workshop features students and teachers from various secondary schools in the U.S. who are involved in classroom activities and laboratory experiments in chemistry. The workshop focuses on students’ ideas about basic concepts in chemistry and their teachers’ reactions to these ideas. It presents teachers’ reflections about their own teaching and discussion forums on how to teach chemistry and its main difficulties. The workshop offers a source of activities, experiments, and reading resources for teachers to use in their daily work. Experts on education and university professors add dimension to the strategies of teaching chemistry.

The workshop also features experts from different disciplines that relate to chemistry. Historians present the development of scientific thinking in chemistry through examples from early times. Industrial chemists and people who use chemistry for their daily work put chemistry in the context of current everyday life by explaining the role of chemistry in what they do. Examples are the chemistry of food, medication, forensics, and composite materials. This relates the students’ own experience of everyday chemistry to what they learn in the classroom.

These ideas are introduced by cutting-edge methodologies and advanced educational technologies that are currently being used in secondary schools throughout the U.S. The multimedia nature of the workshop, combining video, a Web site, and this printed guide, maximizes the possibility of extracting teaching materials and methodologies from the workshop.

Program Summaries

Workshop 1. Atoms and Molecules
Modeling Chemistry: This program deals with teaching the very first steps of chemistry. It introduces the basic building blocks–the atoms–which, through their properties of periodicity and binding, form molecules. The program offers different ways to represent these basic concepts by creating useful models in the minds of new chemistry students. It follows the development of these concepts through history and their use in modern technology.

Workshop 2. Macro to Micro Structures
Teaching for Conceptual Change: This program deals with the conceptualization of micro processes and envi-ronments. It involves teaching chemistry through macro phenomena, which can be observed, and micro processes, which occur on the molecular level and can only be imagined. Conceptual change must occur in order for students to understand chemical phenomena. Teaching for conceptual change poses a great challenge to teachers because they must create imaginary and physical models in order to help students visualize microenvi-ronments and processes that occur within them.

Workshop 3. Energetics and Dynamics
The Complexity of Teaching Chemistry: This program emphasizes the importance of learning about the basic principles of energetics and dynamics. The complexity of teaching concepts such as the collisions theory, reaction kinetics, and electronic energy levels is introduced using a variety of teaching strategies. These concepts are related to everyday phenomena through topics such as nuclear and solar energy.

Workshop 4. Theory and Practice in Chemical Systems
Problem Solving: This program shows how a theoretical understanding of the driving force for chemical systems can lead to further development of new technologies and to the discovery of new phenomena in practice. In teaching, this is done through the creation of a close relationship between the science and mathematics of chemical processes, through problem-solving activities. These activities, which are based on a systematic interpretation of chemistry into mathematics, make the connection between theory and practice. These basic skills form the foundation for learning about chemical systems.

Workshop 5. Chemical Design
Facilitating Laboratory Learning: This program deals with basic concepts that are required for the under-standing of chemical design. The idea is brought about by experiences from everyday life, such as the stoichiometry of baking, the ingredients of soft drinks, the components of drugs, and the chromatography of markers. The tools of the chemical designer–the chemist–are found in the laboratory, and the procedure which leads to the development of new materials is based on scientific investigation. These tools are applied to chemistry teaching in the classroom and to the facilitation of laboratory learning.

Workshop 6. The Chemistry of Life
Effective Teaching Strategies: This program discusses the chemistry of the wonders of life. It starts off with the way life began and goes on to deal with the structure and function of biological molecules. It emphasizes the value of relating chemical principles to biology studies and states that living organisms are huge chemical systems in equilibrium. Thus, learning processes are based on the chemistry of life, and this program shows how effective classroom strategies aim at enhanced learning.

Workshop 7. Chemistry and the Environment
Classroom Climate: This program introduces the chemistry of the environment. It addresses selected topics such as water quality and purification, recycling, and the hole in the ozone layer. Bringing the students to awareness of these topics helps them understand important issues in the world around them. In studying chemistry, environ-mental studies or anything else, the classroom climate is an important issue as well, and the teacher can influence it to a great extent.

Workshop 8. Chemistry at the Interface
Quality in Teaching:
In the last program, cutting-edge technologies are presented, where chemistry is at the interface with other disciplines: tissue engineering, deciphering of the human genome, and agricultural resources for new materials. The future of technology is incorporated into the chemistry classroom, motivating the students with exciting real-world applications and contributing to teaching. The workshop ends with a discussion: What is quality in teaching and how does it influence chemistry students and teachers?


Using the Video, Web site and Workshop Guide

The Web site and guide provide everything you need to know to conduct this workshop, either with colleagues or on your own. The workshop consists of activities carried out with your colleagues on-site (Workshop Sessions) and those to do on your own (Pre-Workshop Preparation and Between Sessions). See Helpful Hints for Facilitators for more information on preparing for group workshop sessions.

Pre-Workshop Preparation (On Your Own)
This guide provides reading and activities to prepare you for each workshop session.

Workshop Sessions (On-Site)
Sessions work best when scheduled for a minimum of two hours, but three hours is optimal. Each session consists of three parts:

Getting Ready
In preparation for watching the program, you will engage in approximately 30 minutes of discussion and activity.

Watch the Workshop Video
Then you will watch the 60-minute video program. Within each program, there are opportunities to pause the tape for discussion:

A) If you watch the programs on video, use the beaker signs to stop the video at the end of each unit, and hold a short discussion about the segment (about 10 minutes each) or immediately following the video.

B) Take notes about your own thoughts and relevant points to the questions raised, in order to carry on a 30- to 45-minute discussion after viewing (not including the summarizing discussion).

Going Further
Wrap up the workshop with an additional 30 minutes of discussion and activity.

Between Sessions (On Your Own)

Homework Assignment
This guide provides exercises and activities that put into use practices learned in the last session, or prepare you for the next one.

Ongoing Activities
You will carry on these activities throughout the course of the workshop:

Keep a Journal
Keep a journal of thoughts, questions, and discoveries from the workshop itself, and relate them to learning experiences that take place in your own classroom.

Use the Web Site
Visit the workshop Web site at www.learner.org/workshops/chemistry/ for materials and resources required for the participation in the workshop. Prepare for each workshop session by reading through the session online. Also, use the Web site to deepen your understanding, find aids for the implementation of the practices shown in the workshop, and search for links and readings to the topics that you teach.

Share Ideas on Teacher-TalkChemistry
Subscribe to an email discussion list and communicate with other workshop participants online. To subscribe to Teacher-Talk, visit: http://www.learner.org/mailman/listinfo/teacher-talkchemistry

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