Tag Archives: re-cap

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

Workshop #1, Day 1 Re-cap

27 Jun

Eight of us gathered at 8.00 AM and went through some introductions.

Setting up, Day #1

Setting up, Day #1

We have quite a diverse group, with experience ranging from 20+ years to just a few, and expertise and experience in middle school science, biology, math and a few other areas as well as chemistry. There’s a couple of the group with only one year of AP teaching under their belt, and some other folk with many more.

The first item on the agenda was my PowerPoint presentation, Teaching AP Chemistry the English Way. I generally like to start the workshop with it since it outlines some of my background and helps to explain some of my philosophies. This gives many of my thoughts some context, and I think helps to frame some of things that might come out of my mouth over the course of the workshop! It’s not a sales pitch, and certainly not something I necessarily say will work for everyone, but helps to explain me and what I do.

TAPCTEW

TAPCTEW

After the opening remarks we then carried out a very brief, corporate style, SWOT analysis for each of our AP classes in the 2013-14 school year.

We then moved on to tackling TOPIC #1 of the ‘Big Five’, Thermochemistry. We took a look at my bullet pointed study guide first, and then went for a very brief walk through of my notes on the topic. The next stage was to deconstruct a few AP problems with their teaching points, followed by a somewhat informal look at a couple of labs.

The labs that we looked at were one of mine that is based upon many, many similar ones out there, where the enthalpy change of the combustion of magnesium is calculated indirectly from reactions of Mg and MgO with HCl, aplab09b.

The second lab is from the ScholAR Chemistry series, #13 Enthlapy Change Determination, and is based upon an enthalpy of neutralization calculation.

ScholAR Lab #13

ScholAR Lab #13

The lab work was followed by a Free Response Question Writing session before lunch, where we managed to produce the equivalent of approx. 3, free response questions that could be adapted and used with our classes. The UNFINISHED questions that we produced in 30 minutes flat are hardly perfect, but at least they form the basis of items that could be developed and used on our tests in the future – a take away for future use.

Lunch was followed by a breakdown of the multiple choice section of the 2008 practice exam from the College Board, with teaching points discussed rather than answers generated.

Stephanie then showed us a couple of things that she uses with her classes, including a reactions demo activity, and the rich resource associated with the W W Norton, Chemistry Science in Context textbook called Chem Tours.

Norton Screen Shot

Norton Screen Shot

This looks like a really nice, FREE resource, especially if kids have been absent from school and need a little self-study option to catch up. There were a couple of really nice animations which looked very cool.

A few admin things wrapped up a busy first day.