Bond with James: November 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Reaction Types Interactive Graphic Organizer & Card Sort

What did I spend my time on leading up to the USA Thanksgiving holiday? Well,  as you can see from the pictures below, I spent it creating my latest product - Reaction Types Graphic Organizer and Card Sort. I recently finished my molecular clip art set (which you can see projected on the TV and the finished product) and was working on another graphic organizer when this idea popped in my head. I stopped Project A to start this project (actually, I seem to be working on at least 4 other projects at the same time).  Also, please excuse my make-shift office :)
Approach reaction types in an engaging yet rigorous way by utilizing the Reaction Types Graphic Organizer and Card Sort. Each reaction type has its own interactive flip tab illustrating the reaction type using clip art representing elements and compounds. Students can tape and/or glue these tabs into their Interactive Notebook (I did not glue/tap in my notebook as I still needed to take pictures for how to use the tabs). The teacher can have students write notes on the backside of each tab or the teacher can write notes on the back prior to printing. 

Additionally, students can practice identifying reaction types through a card sort. If you're interested, please click here: Reaction Types Graphic Organizer and Card Sort.

UPDATE: I have added a Spanish version.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Molecular Compounds Clip Art

This is going to be a short post. I wanted to update you all concerning my newest product, the molecular compounds clip art set. I was actually working on another project, an interactive graphic organizer, when I realized I needed molecule clip art to finish it. At first, I browsed Teachers Pay Teachers. However, I could not find anything. I did notice that many clip art artists there tend to make the same clip art (it's very obvious) but make subtle changes by adding one or two new pieces to try to offset it from a competing clip art seller. Anyway, then I tried to find clip art that was copyright free and/or was available through a commercial use license but I did not find anything I liked (or I had to pay a large sum of money). Then I realized that I was completely capable - to some degree- of creating my own clip art. I mean I only created the beaker and graduated cylinder clip sets last year.
Overall, I am happy with the way the set came out. There are 94 PNG images total. If you are interested in obtaining a set, click here. I think I may add include larger molecules at a later time/date.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) 2013

I had the opportunity to attend CAST this year as part of a proposal I helped write back in May. CAST stands for the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching; it is a huge conference held yearly in Texas. The proposal allowed approximately 60 middle and high school science teachers from my district the opportunity to attend CAST. I was excited, nervous, overwhelmed, and tired. I had to plan for my presentation, plan for the sessions I was going to attend, and help the teachers develop a plan of action as well. I definitely learned a few lessons! With that said, I wanted to share my experience. I also hope that I get to attend and present next year in Dallas. :)

Not only did I get to attend for the first time, I also presented at a conference for the first time. I had a blast. Of course, my co-presenter and I learned our lesson in regard to bringing so much stuff - that was a pain.  Our session was titled: Reaching for the STAARs: Interactive Chemistry Games and Graphic Organizers.
Here the participants are playing with my Periodic Table Tarsia Puzzles, as well as a game designed by my co-presenter, Adrienne. 

Here are a few pictures that my colleagues and I took during a some of our sessions.

The night before and each night after the conference, the middle and high school teams met to process the sessions they attend. Campus teams put together an interactive notebook of their experiences. Additionally, we had teams create a Turn-Around PD in order to share their experiences, strategies, and documents with colleagues who did not attend. I wanted to make sure that the conference experience was not an "I got to go and now I'm back and that's it" experience. Team submitted their presentations to the appropriate specialist for review and PD dates are yet to be determined as the process is on-going.
Overall the experience was great. I heard nothing but positive feedback in regard to the experience and the time we allowed campuses to process and collaborate amongst each other. The post was becoming too long and so I deleted a few of the pictures. I will add more pictures / descriptions in a later post.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chemistry JiT #4: The Mole & Stoichiometry

I tried posting this the day of the training and had uploading issues. Anyway, the 4th Chemistry Just-in-Time (JiT) training was held for teachers about two weeks ago. I met with my Region  Service Center counterpart, also a former teacher from my district, in order to plan for the Chem JiT workshop.  As mentioned in an earlier blog post, the workshops are geared toward upcoming standards in our scope and sequence in order to provide teachers with ideas and/or activities to utilize in the classroom. Additionally, we adjust our sessions based on teacher feedback. A majority of the feedback we have received has been positive; all cool feedback resulted from insufficient planning time with campus based PLCs [although, I would argue they had plenty of time ;) ]

Let me get straight to sharing one of the activities via pictures and descriptions...

One of the first activities that was shared was part of an introduction to the mole concept I developed 2-3 years ago when I was still in the classroom. I had always introduced the mole concept by showing students a dozen of several different items - a dozen doughnuts, a dozen pencils, etc. However, reflecting back on my experience as a chemistry student, I remember still struggling with what a mole was/meant even when my teacher explained it that way. All the conversion factors (1 mol = molar mass (g), 1 mol = 6.02x10^23, 1 mol = 22.4L) were too much to handle when learning this topic for the first time; in addition, MATH was involved. 
So, the first thing I had my students do when class started was to go to their assigned lab table and find  at least four different substances.  The first time I did this I used large paper clips, beads, cheerios, and toothpicks as I had thought of the idea a day before implementing it and needed a large quantity of items fast (the types of items do not matter as we had to substitute  materials at the training because our requested items were not prepared). 

At the station, I ask students to create 3 groups of a dozen and weigh each group separately. After, students answer a few questions that scaffold the overall purpose of the activity.This task may seem extremely elementary, however, it has helped me tremendously while teaching the mole concept. 

First, I am driving home the point that we have words that represent a certain quantity (1 dozen = 12 items; 1 mole = 6.02x10^23 particles) no matter what we are talking about. Most students will recognize this fact. Secondly,  students can develop a general relationship between quantity and mass. Looking at the pictures above, the mass of each group of cubes is approximately 12.0 grams. From here, students could develop a general rule that 1 dozen blue cubes = 12.0 grams and use that information to calculate problems or unknown situations in the future. Students also realize that the number of blue cubes and yellow circles is the same - a dozen each; however, the substances do not weigh the same. 
After completing the activity, teachers were asked to develop a concept map or other visual that would help them process the activity (as if they were students themselves). Even if you do not use interactive notebooks, I would suggest allowing students time to process the information that makes sense to them (drawing, concept map, acrostic, etc.). I really like how a few teachers drew 12 blocks and 12 paper clips to indicate the same quantity and showed how they may not necessarily have the same mass.

When I originally did this activity, I wrapped up and went straight into the mole concept. I constantly referred back to the activity to help students process the information. I will say this activity made teaching moles much easier the last 2 years I was in the classroom.

UPDATE: This post is was written in 2013; however I have used the idea since 2010. I recently developed an interactive notebook product specifically for the mole concept and have included the activity in a note-format, which may be found by clicking here or on the picture below.