BCCE Day 1

Some thoughts from BCCE Day 1 – including environmental pbl study, lab assessment methods, part 2; research awareness following innovations in lab teaching; cognition studies, using videos of students and developing models if students’ conceptions of acid strength; part 3 – students problems with molarity in chemistry. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3:

Constructivism in Chemistry

This post summarises what it means to me as a chemistry teacher/lecturer to subscribe to the theory of constructivism in chemistry education, highlighting the teaching and learning stances that are adopted to align with this viewpoint. Some counter arguments to the principle of constructivism in chemistry are given which fall into two general categories: epistemological arguments and pedagogic arguments. Overview Constructivism is a theory of learning which describes how learners build on existing or prior knowledge to incorporate new knowledge, based on their learning experiences. The theory is based on the principle that knowledge is not “discovered”, but constructed in…

Periodic Table of Videos

This is a really wonderful resource from the University of Nottingham. There is a video for each element showing its reactivity (or not), with demonstrations and insight into the underlying chemistry. The real star of the show is the wonderful Prof Martyn Poliakoff, below. He offers in his unique way, insight into each of the elements, and now into a host of other issues about chemistry. His easy style makes the videos addictive viewing. There is a twitter stream and a Facebook page too. I’ve embedded one of my favourite videos below, and the others can be viewed on the…

Chemistry: A Volatile History

Congratulations to all concerned in the production of the recent BBC series “Chemistry: A Volatile History”.  This series reminds me of Bill Bryson’s book, “A Short History of Nearly Everything“, in the way that the lives of the scientists involved in the chemical discoveries are discussed to give a rich context for their discoveries and innovation. I plan to return to this subject but for the moment I have linked below the three episodes, which are available on YouTube to all of us non-UK based-non-BBC-iPlayer people. Episode 1: Discovering the Elements Episode 2: The Order of the Elements Episode 3:…