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    Nuts & Bolts | November 2019 Developing the Skill of Modeling to Reinforce Complex Topics in Chemistry

    In this article, the author explains the progression of skill development in particulate modeling in the chemistry classroom to help students better understand complex chemistry.

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    Resource Feature | May 2019 Modeling Polarity

    In this article, the authors share about two kinesthetic-based activities used to successfully help students develop an understanding of polarity. The first activity focuses on conceptualizing the polarity of a bond, and the second activity allows them to apply that knowledge to determine the polarity of a molecule.

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    Resource Feature | November 2018 Taking Inspiration from the AP Chemistry Reading

    In this article, the author describes how her experience at the AP Chemistry Reading inspires lesson ideas to help address common misconceptions. In her engaging classroom activity, students model equilibrium reactions using chips to represent atoms in an effort to connect the symbolic model of an equilibrium reaction to its particle model.

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    Nuts & Bolts | November 2018 A Groovy NGSS Phenomenon for Chemistry Concepts

    In this article, the authors demonstrate how an existing middle school chemistry curriculum can be easily modified toward an NGSS storyline. The article highlights lesson shift toward the “groovy phenomenon” of a lava lamp to engage students in chemistry concepts such as density, heat transfer, particle motion, and phases of matter. NGSS practices in modeling for understanding and arguing from evidence are highlighted.

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    Nuts & Bolts | May 2018 Using Learning Progressions to Improve Scientific Modeling in Chemistry

    This article describes how to use learning progressions to transform your existing modeling activities to help students construct and use models as a generative tool for predicting and explaining phenomena. In the process, the models become a learning tool, rather than just a means to illustrate understanding.

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    Classroom Commentary | March 2018 Part II: Rethinking Common Practices in High School Chemistry

    This article is Part II of a series that aims at rethinking common practices in the high school chemistry curriculum. The first article in this series was published in the November 2017 issue. This article describes the shortcomings with the “5 Reaction Types” classification scheme and provides an alternative organization to the study of chemical reactions.

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    Resource Feature | November 2017 A Particulate Representation of Molarity

    In addition to using a simple activity about investigating the differences Kool-Aid concentration and completing molarity calculations, students work with pictures at the particle level to develop a deeper understanding of solutions and molarity.

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    Classroom Commentary | November 2017 Part I: Rethinking Common Practices in High School Chemistry

    The physical vs. chemical change dichotomy and criteria for classification often taught early in chemistry courses should be removed or delayed until students have a more thorough understanding of the particulate nature of matter.

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    Resource Feature | September 2017 ​Increasing Student Comprehension of VSEPR Theory​

    In the activity described in this article, students construct physical models of molecular shapes. However, students are not told what the preferred arrangements of electron pair domains are. Instead, they derive the arrangements. Students are given the opportunity to conceptualize what is happening when one electron pair domain acts upon another, and to understand how those interactions result in the molecular geometries predicted by VSEPR theory. As an outcome of examining the physical basis of the VSEPR model, students should have a much better grasp of the implications of electron pair repulsions on molecular shape, and should be better able to understand, communicate, and apply that understanding.

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    Classroom Commentary | September 2017 One Teacher’s Journey on the Path to Modeling Instruction

    This article describes a teacher’s journey and reflections over her 27-year career as she moved from a traditional chemistry classroom to one using modeling instruction techniques. To illustrate a central insight she gained along her journey, she describes one activity in particular, Sticky Tape. In this activity, students find evidence for charged particles smaller than an atom, and the discussion after the activity ultimately leads them to the subatomic particle we know as the electron. Making the move to incorporating modeling instruction transformed the author’s classroom and teaching style, and her students are now much more engaged in their own learning.

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    Tech Tips | September 2015 Google Drawings: Visualizing and Interacting

    An instructional guide for teachers who want to use the Google App, Google Drawings, in their classroom.

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    Classroom Commentary | September 2015 How I Found Modeling Pedagogy

    Throughout his 35-year teaching career, this teacher found success in active learning, particularly through modeling chemistry pedagogy. Read how his teaching evolved by incorporating new techniques, strategies, and ideas.

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    Classroom Commentary | March 2015 The Tale of Two Chemistries

    How much is too much when it comes to simplifying content in chemistry teaching? This teacher with 15 years of teaching experience shares some specific examples of what she has found.


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    Resource Feature | November 2014 Magic Bubble

    Read about a lesson designed by a teacher that introduces students to particle diagrams via the process of dissolving.