Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Sub Image2:Macro to Micro Structures
1) Atoms and Molecules2) Macro to Micro Structures 3) Energetics and Dynamics 4) Theory and Practice in Chemical Systems 5) Chemical Design 6) The Chemistry of Life 7) Chemistry and the Environment 8) Chemistry at the Interface
From: Kathryn Aday (kaday@hs.wisd.org)
Date: Wed Mar 05 2003 - 14:08:51 EST

I know I am behind everyone else, but I do want to address a comment in the
workshop II video. One teacher used the chemstudy candle observation
activity. I think it is great & I just finished doing a lab with my
students determining the heat of combustion of a candle. It is in my new
Addison Wesley text on p. 319, and I love it, because students are asked
what they think the wick and wax are for. Almost without fail, they get
these questions wrong. Then they are led through questions and they realize
it is the wax that is burned and they actually use the mass lost by the
candle to determine the heat of combustion. The comment by Alison that
students do not want to let go of misconceptions became very apparent to me
in this lab.

The teacher in the video claimed that "nothing was burning" when she and her
students do this observation activity. I even rewound my tape and listened
again to make sure I heard her correctly.

I love all of the good suggestions and I am getting a lot out of reading the


-----Original Message-----
From: Alison Reid [mailto:areid@cfa.harvard.edu]
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 8:59 AM
To: channel-talkchemistry@learner.org
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkchemistry] workshop II ideas

It's interesting that you mention light as a specific area for
misconceptions: if you have time, take a look at two other
Annenberg Channel offerings specifically about this area: one is
workshop begins its broadcasts again on March 19 on the Channel
(satellite or broadband simulcast) and you can visit its Web site at

The other program of interest would be PRIVATE UNIVERSE PROJECT IN
SCIENCE, "Workshop 5. Vision: Can We Believe Our Own Eyes?" Though
specifically focusing on vision (no pun intended), the misconceptions
that students demonstrate in the show specifically have to do with
the nature and properties of light.

I'd love to hear more about how you straightened out their
misconceptions. As the PRIVATE UNIVERSE series shows, that is no mean
feat: students tend to cling to their own theories, however flawed,
even after careful instruction. Do you have specific activities and
lessons that you recommend? Did the students show that they'd
internalized the lessons in future testing of related concepts?

-Alison Reid

PUP Science 5

>We found out this year that our students could not understand light
>at all. We had a pre-questionnaire in which we asked them about
>radiowaves, how their eyes perceived light, colors, etc. Once we had
>them fill out the questionnaire we talked about light and
>straightened out their many misconceptions. Then we edited our old
>flame lab to include examples of lightbulbs and fluorescent bulbs
>and even looked at some spectral images of different stars and the
>absorption and emission lines. It made them get the lab much better.

Alison Reid
Web Specialist
Harvard-Smithsonian CfA
60 Garden St., MS82
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-496-7680

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