Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This Framework Works!

I've always struggled with the debate of breadth over depth (or vice versa). On the one hand, a lot of novice level chemistry can be pretty dry. For example, learning stoichiometry and acid-base equilibrium aren't exactly interesting, but both are more or less essential to gaining a deep understanding of science. Perhaps there is some way of making those topics interesting, which is where our reading comes in. The authors of A Framework for Scientific Education emphasize the role contextualization plays in student learning. By making a topic relevant and applicable to a student is key in piquing interest. For example, talking about how stoichiometry is used to maximize efficiency in space shuttles or how our blood is really a complex buffer solution could help make strides in making topics relevant for students. I think one possible pitfall lies in overcomplicating certain topics by exposing students to concepts that might be interesting but still beyond the skill level of the students. Here, discretion is probably key as far as constructing assessments and presentation of the material.

I also liked utilizing students' innate sense of curiosity, or "sense of wonder". Honestly, watching videos of different really cool chemical reactions is what got me interested in chemistry to begin with. Like we've talked about in class, framing science as a subject to be explored rather than a subject to be learned is huge. I can hardly imagine anyone who can watch potassium explode in water  or see a rocket blast into space and not be at least a little bit interested in the chemistry behind it.


  1. I really liked your focus on awakening students' curiosity. This can be especially useful for reaching uninterested or unmotivated students. Just like how you said how cool chemistry videos got you into chemistry, cool immersions in our content area are supposed to make science seem cool to future students!

  2. I also took note of the "sense of wonder" comment from the readings. Having been in both middle school and high school classrooms, I think younger students are easily excitable compared to older students, who can be largely apathetic. I think we need to learn how to retain that capacity for excitement as students get older and have more things on their plate.