Now that we are settled in to the 2018-2019 school year and have had a chance to reflect on our beginning of school professional development and summer “chemcations,” we are in a position to start planning for future academic opportunities. Your AACT membership is a great place to begin! Already there have been several interesting webinars that you can put to use in your classroom right away, including Designing Effective Multiple-Choice Questions for Chemistry and Scaffolding Stoichiometry for Struggling Students.

The quarterly periodical you’re reading, Chemistry Solutions, is also a great resource to help you acquire new teaching strategies and resources for use in your classroom. In the November issue, you can learn from an experienced AP Chemistry Exam Reader who has designed an activity to help address student misconceptions related to equilibrium. Also in this issue, master middle school teachers collaborated to co-author an article aimed at helping teachers modify an existing curriculum toward an NGSS storyline. Meanwhile, a Michigan high school teacher shares his unique experience as a participant in the Science Coaches Program, as well as the leader of an ACS ChemClub, and explains how he has made a valuable connection between both programs. Additionally, you might be inspired to design a vertical alignment opportunity for science teachers in your area when you read Scott Hawkins’ article. Finally, hear from a chemistry teacher in Thailand, and learn about his fascinating journey from an American classroom to an international one.

As the liaison between AACT and the ACS Division of Chemical Education (DivCHED), I would like to highlight the connection between the two entities. Though the memberships are separate, both organizations provide members with quality educational resources. If you are a dual AACT-ACS member, I suggest that you consider DivCHED as one of your technical division choices, offered as part of your ACS membership. According to the past few AACT surveys, the desire for resources and professional development are two of the primary reasons we all join. However, in our efforts to learn about chemistry resources (including activities, labs, and lessons), we sometimes forget about resources related to how students learn – and more importantly, how our students learn chemistry. There is a whole culture in academia focusing on how chemistry is learned, and DivCHED is the door through which we can enter that milieu. In addition to focusing on publications related to chemical education, DivCHED has committees dedicated to test development, high school chemical education, safety, and the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE). A few examples of topics that were presented this past summer at BCCE 2018, held at the University of Notre Dame, are:

  • Using social media to boost instruction,
  • Argument driven inquiry, and
  • Metacognitive strategies for students.

The metacognitive strategies sessions were so popular that people were overflowing from the room — evidence that suggests that we, as educators, see the need for helping our students with the learning process.

I know that since I have become involved with AACT and DivCHED jointly, I have become more aware of and reflective about how my efforts are affecting my students’ acquisition of chemical skills and concepts. I plan to continue on this journey of growth as I benefit from the many professional development opportunities available to me through my memberships. So, if you are presented with the opportunity to join a technical division, I hope you will seriously consider DivCHED as one of your top choices. Please invite a friend or colleague to join as well!

Best wishes to you all for a very happy rest of semester one. I encourage you to do some fun chemistry every day, because, to quote a friend, “What in the world isn’t chemistry?”

Amiee ModicAmiee Modic
DivCHED Representative, AACT Governing Board

Photo credit:
(article cover) iqoncept/