September 2015 | Editorial
So Many Firsts
By Emily Bones
On September 2, the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) celebrated its first birthday. It’s hard to believe that an organization with the potential to reach thousands of teachers is so new, and in its first year, has grown to more than 2,600 members. There are many teachers we haven’t yet reached, but we thank all of our current members who share information about AACT with their colleagues to help us reach as many teachers of chemistry as we can.
To support this large community of teachers, the AACT governing board met for the first time in Washington, D.C this July. The 11 board members and AACT staff put their heads together to strategize ways to best serve current members, and how to reach more teachers who can benefit from AACT. In two short days, a lot of ideas were generated and the enthusiasm and passion for chemistry education was off the charts. You can learn more about the governing board positions and what they do for AACT members.
Immediately following the governing board meeting, AACT held the first of six Dow & AACT Teacher Summits, with the generous support of The Dow Chemical Company. This year the summit took place in Midland, Michigan, and in summer 2016 two more summits will take place in Dow communities in Texas and Louisiana. Prior to the summit, a group of 23 K–12 teachers of chemistry collaborated virtually to develop lessons, and then met for one week to develop more lessons for the AACT community, participate in professional development, and meet with preservice teachers. The participants all took something away from the week that they will implement in their classes this year. It was another enthusiastic and passionate bunch of teachers of chemistry that I was lucky to work with this summer!
This August, I had my first day of school after being away from the classroom for five years. I’m in my fourth week of school, and I’ve already used many AACT resources with my students. It’s nice to know firsthand that the resources AACT has been working to provide over this past year meet my needs for the classroom. So please keep contributing your resources to help the AACT library grow. And if you use a resource, leave a comment on the lesson page with a success story or an alteration you made to fit your classroom needs.
In this issue, the first of the second volume, we bring you tips, tricks, and advice from active teachers of chemistry. If you want to promote meaningful reading in chemistry, you can learn about a successful method that engages students. If you’re looking for technology help, an experienced teacher shares how she uses Google Drawings with her students or you can find out how to virtually connect your classroom and students with practicing scientists. For problem solving tips, learn about a review activity that holds students accountable to each other as well as a road map for students so they can solve stoichiometry problems of all kinds. If you’re curious about modeling, a teacher shares his journey to it and how it changed his chemistry classroom. Like so many teachers, if you are working on a tight budget, read about how one teacher takes resourceful to the next level. And finally, find out how a traditional lab sparked an idea in a student and his teacher supported his curiosity. Another packed issue full of great content by and for teachers of chemistry.
Don’t forget, as an AACT member, you have full access to archived articles and issues of Chemistry Solutions. So if you’re looking for an article on a topic not addressed in this issue, we may have a teacher in the community who has written on the topic in Volume 1. The AACT blog is an informal platform where teachers share ideas. If you haven’t perused it yet, you should.
As AACT begins its second year, we hope the community continues to find the offerings useful, of high quality, and easy to implement. With my new role in the classroom, I have passed the torch of education resource specialist on to Jenn Parsons. She comes to the AACT team from the classroom, where she taught various levels of chemistry for the past nine years. She fills the role as managing editor for Chemistry Solutions, and it’s been so wonderful having another experienced teacher to bring the second volume to life. Welcome to the team, Jenn. We’re so happy to have you!
And thank you, AACT community, for making our first year such a great one!
Chemistry Solutions editor
Top photo: The 2015-2016 AACT Governing Board
Bottom photo: Teachers work together at the 2016 Dow & AACT Teacher Summit in Midland, Michigan