Archive | July, 2012

AP Scores 2012 – now available

6 Jul

This morning teachers started to get access to their students’ AP scores. Here is the data for the 32 students that took may AP course in 2011-12;

Extremely Well-Qualified (5) – 22

Well-Qualified (4) – 10

Average score for 2012 = 4.69

You can see how this compares to past years, by clicking here.

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Workshop #1, Day 3 Re-cap

6 Jul

The final day started with at look at the new curriculum. In a nutshell, I feel that by far the biggest hurdle for chemistry teachers is going to be satisfying the audit process, and then making ethical decisions about what follows in their class. Although there have been some changes to content, I really don’t see how the content has been significantly reduced, and on top on the emphasis on inquiry, I find this all a little disturbing.

The second activity of the day was a look at an old favorite, Carolina Biological’s, Periodic Table Simulator. I like to show people this activity, since it has applications outside of the AP classroom, and it fills a void in a topic where there are precious few activities available.

Periodic Table Activity

Periodic Table Activity

The 2012 Reading Notes and Comments were next up. I have a few connections that over the years have be generous enough to pass information on to me about the reading, and I usually compile them into a single document. The combination of that document, with a copy of the questions and my draft answers, usually provokes some interesting discussions – this year was no exception.

Next up was Big Five #4, Electrochemistry – plus FRQ writing to go with it.

More Labs

More Labs

After lunch we discussed some common AP chemistry misconceptions. I developed this document from John Gelder’s original 2006 PowerPoint presentation, and subsequent discussions with him. Always an enlightening conversation.

The final part of the day was spent reviewing a selection of lab kits donated by some of the chemical supply companies.

Investigating Lab Activities

Investigating Lab Activities

Workshop #1, Day 2 Re-cap

1 Jul

Day 2 kicked off with some discussions about the new curriculum. I certainly don’t pretend to represent the College Board in any way, but I think I have a decent handle of things surrounding the new exam and course, and given that I am 100% independent, I can also give an honest, personal view of things! Granted it may not be totally unbiased, but I have no incentive to hold back on any opinions – a good discussion resulted!

Next, Paul agreed to share a manganate REDOX titration with us, which led us to teaching points surrounding the writing of half-reactions, what constitutes measurements versus calculations, and a few other discussions about titrations in general.

Paul with the REDOX titration

Paul with the REDOX titration

These general chats always bring up interesting teaching point to me, and as a small example of what I’m talking about we got into the pros & cons of adding electrons first or last when constructing half-reactions – sounds pretty trivial onthe surface, but I think it introduces some interesting ideas about what works for kids.

Titration

Titration

I used the old, ‘piece of paper to help the reading of the manganate meniscus’ trick, that people enjoyed!

Manganate titration

Manganate titration

I coupled the wet lab, with an extra look at question #5 from 2007,

2007, 5

2007, 5

and then with one of Tom Greenbowe’s excellent simulations. These activities gave us a thorough look at one particular reaction that spawned some excellent conversation over a wider context.

We then pressed on to the second of the ‘Big Five’, Equilibrium. A look at another simulation was followed by a brief FRQ writing session after lunch.

We then had a look a three Acid/base lab kits; One from Carolina, one from ScholAr and one from Flinn. All had pros and cons, but we could see good applications for all.

Carolina Acid Base Lab

Carolina Acid Base Lab

Paul contributed valuable things again by giving us access to his titration calculation document, and we finished with a quick look at some more of the Acid Base topics, #3 in the ‘Big Five’.

Indicator Lab

Indicator Lab