1. Mike Stieff
  2. Associate Professor
  3. The Connected Chemistry Curriculum
  4. http://connchem.org
  5. University of Illinois at Chicago
  1. Rachel Yim
  2. Project Manager
  3. The Connected Chemistry Curriculum
  4. http://connchem.org
  5. University of Illinois at Chicago
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Rachel Yim

    Rachel Yim

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:28 a.m.

    Thank you for taking the time to watch The Connected Chemistry Curriculum video! This project is currently nearing the end of its baseline year; we are in the midst of year-end data collection and recruiting additional teachers for the upcoming years of our project. 

    We welcome your feedback! In particular, please let us know if:

    1) You would like additional information on the project

    2) You have ideas on how we might recruit additional teachers for the upcoming phase of our project

  • Icon for: Daniel Damelin

    Daniel Damelin

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 04:01 p.m.

    Can you describe the modeling platform and what you provide for a curricular surround to these simulations?

    Is it meant to be a stand-alone course, or are there many drop-in units?

    What are you finding related to students linking macro, micro, and formulaic representations?

  • Icon for: Mike Stieff

    Mike Stieff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 04:32 p.m.

    Thanks for the questions! The models are designed using Java and Processing, and the simulations are embedded in a modular inquiry-based curriculum. Teachers can use the curriculum modules stand-alone or drop-in units and activities to complement their existing curriculum. Using the entire curriculum would cover ~120 days of instruction. In our studies to date, we do see students improve their understanding of the relationship between the three "levels" in chemistry when they work with the simulation activities and this seems to translate to improve learning outcomes as well.

  • Icon for: Chris Orban

    Chris Orban

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 10:22 a.m.

    Any plans to port the activities to a more browser friendly language like javascript? In the STEMcoding project we use javascript with a library called p5.js which works rather well.

  • Icon for: Rachel Yim

    Rachel Yim

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 12:44 p.m.

    Thank you for your question and suggestion, Chris! The simulations are currently being translated to a mobile/browser-friendly version using JavaScript and should ideally be ready for use by the beginning of the '18-'19 school year. 

  • Icon for: Chris Orban

    Chris Orban

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 12:46 p.m.

    Great. Is there an e-mail list that you add me to that would provide updates?

  • Icon for: Rachel Yim

    Rachel Yim

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 01:23 p.m.

    I would be happy to send you updates! What's your preferred email/mode of contact?

  • Icon for: Chris Orban

    Chris Orban

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2018 | 09:17 a.m.

    My e-mail is orban@physics.osu.edu    Are you guys on twitter?

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 15, 2018 | 07:49 p.m.

    I love that you stated the challenges up front to teaching Chemistry. Great how you connect the particle level through visualizations and connections to the real world to the macroscopic level to then to  formulas.   How many schools are using it? You say you are testing it in Chicago schools. What have you learned thus far? What issues do teachers have when implementing the first time around? What are challenges that you see to scale this up?

    Great, clear, video! Thanks.

  • Icon for: Mike Stieff

    Mike Stieff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 04:00 p.m.

    Thanks for your questions, Joni. Our current project investigates the efficacy of CCC in Chicago-area schools. Currently, we are collaborating with 13 schools on the efficacy project. As we launched the project last summer, our work this year has involved collecting baseline data on teacher practices and student learning outcomes without using CCC. We've identified several points in the schools' curricula that we believe the CCC materials will best support teachers and students to connect levels together. Next year we hope to have our first implementation results to compare against the baseline data. With regard to challenges of implementation, we know that resources are an issue. The curriculum encourages students to work with the simulations routinely throughout the school year, and many of our schools lack access to sufficient hardware resources to support this level of use. That will likely remain a problem at scale, so we are developing alternative models of implementation to support teachers with limited access to computers in their classrooms.

  • Icon for: Chuck Verenna

    Chuck Verenna

    K-12 Teacher
    May 15, 2018 | 08:34 p.m.

    I really like the integration of the macroscopic, microscopic and symbols.  One of the frustrating things I've experienced in teaching Chemistry is trying to find a decent representation of something that is so small I can't actually show the students.  If it were Newtonian physics, not a problem; however, trying to show the relative motion of gas particles according to kinetic molecular theory can be problematic.  The simulations reminded me of PHET ones, but seem to be tailored for each topic.  I like that the teacher is in more of a role of facilitator to the students, and that there are macroscopic examples for the students, such as the formation of NaCl from its elements.  I am wondering two things - are there specific, hands-on activities associated with the simulations for students to complete; and, has anyone made a comparison of similar level of Chemistry students in terms of their understanding and level of retention of knowledge using the CCC curriculum and a conventional approach?

  • Icon for: Mike Stieff

    Mike Stieff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 04:05 p.m.

    Thanks, Chunk! We agree that the representation issue is a central problem in chemistry instruction, which motivated much of our development work on the curriculum. We love PhET simulations too and I'm glad our sims remind you of them! We often look to them for examples of high quality educational technologies for teaching science. With respect to our activities, each simulation in the curriculum is connected to a guided-inquiry activity that helps students gather observations from the simulation to generate claims about chemical phenomena. We also have hands-on activities involving physical models, laboratory demos, and drawing to help students link core ideas across multiple representations. Our current project aims to establish the efficacy of a sustained implementation of the materials, but we have several prior studies that do show that individual components of CCC improve conceptual knowledge in chemistry and representational competence with respect to specific units.

  • Icon for: Anja Blecking

    Anja Blecking

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2018 | 11:50 a.m.

    Great project! I like how it supports students in making connections between the different representations. I read above that the units are designed to be either implemented as a course or stand-alone units. How did you support the teachers in that process? Did you conduct summer PD or year-round support? Do you provide additional instructions/tips for teachers on your website?

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Icon for: Mike Stieff

    Mike Stieff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 04:10 p.m.

    Thanks, Anja! We try to support teachers using the materials in two ways. First, we developed a set of teacher materials that complement the student materials. These materials can be found on our website. They offer guidelines for implementing a unit or activity, examples of student work from prior implementations, and tips from other teachers who have piloted the curriculum. Second, we have a more intensive PD program that involves a one-week summer institute on using the materials, bimonthly work circles with peer teachers during the school year, and one-on-one observations and feedback from our professional development staff who visit the classrooms. We believe the PD program is a core part of the curriculum!

  • Icon for: Jennifer Richards

    Jennifer Richards

    Researcher
    May 16, 2018 | 08:21 p.m.

    Hi Mike!  It's exciting to see where this line of research is currently.  In thinking from the PD angle, I was wondering if teachers have opportunity to visit each other's classrooms or co-teach and iterate on their approaches in practice?

  • Icon for: Mike Stieff

    Mike Stieff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:34 p.m.

    Jen, this is a wonderful idea. We do have teachers engage in reflection activities together, but they have not visited each other's classrooms. Thanks for sharing the idea!

  • Icon for: Carrie Willis

    Carrie Willis

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 09:44 p.m.

    LOVE inquiry explorations. Real world connections in Chemistry was something that my Chem courses were definitely lacking in high school and college. The simulations definitely seem engaging for students. Do you find that most schools have the adequate classroom technology to adopt a program such as this? 

  • Icon for: Mike Stieff

    Mike Stieff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:36 p.m.

    Thanks for the comment, Carrie. We have found ways to support our collaborators with an implementation regardless of available resources. The materials are designed for students to work together with a shared display, which does require a lot of tech. However, an easy modification that many teachers adopt is to move the activities to the classroom-level where students investigate a simulation as a whole-class activity. This requires only one machine and a projector.

  • Icon for: Jim Hammerman

    Jim Hammerman

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2018 | 05:57 p.m.

    The simulations seem really cool, and I noticed that you were careful to model important and subtle phenomena like the faster vibrational movement of smaller molecules. I also really appreciate that you see support for teachers as integral to implementing the curriculum. I wasn't clear whether elements of the models are manipulable -- e.g., changing the temperature of a gas -- or if they're mostly sophisticated demonstrations. And what are you learning so far about what teachers need in order to ask the sorts of questions of students that the teacher in the video was making? or about what students are learning in this environment?

  • Icon for: Rachel Yim

    Rachel Yim

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 10:32 a.m.

    Thanks for your question, Jim! Depending upon the simulation and the unit, users are able to manipulate some variables (ex. temperature, volume, number and kind of molecules). Previous work related to this project indicated that professional development was integral to teachers successfully implementing the curriculum - the types of facilitating questions used in CCC may be new to teachers, so modeling those questions and providing continued support as teachers began using the curriculum helped teachers build confidence and skill. As Mike mentioned in another comment, there are several prior studies related to the current project that show that individual components of CCC improve students' conceptual knowledge in chemistry and representational competence with respect to specific units.

  • Icon for: James Diamond

    James Diamond

    Facilitator
    May 20, 2018 | 01:24 p.m.

    Hi—thanks for sharing this. I like the way that Ray describes thinking about chemistry on three levels. The simulation seems to address the micro and symbolic levels, but not necessarily the macro level. Have you considered integrating the macro level within the simulation? As Ray describes it, they're looking at videos after engaging with the simulation. But I wonder what it might be like to have access to all three levels concurrently, with the ability to pause, zoom in, etc.? 

  • Icon for: Rachel Yim

    Rachel Yim

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 10:19 a.m.

    Thanks for your question, James! The integration of the macro level occurs in the other curriculum materials, primarily through demonstrations, readings, teacher-facilitated discussions, and hands-on activities. Students are able to pause, zoom in, and otherwise manipulate certain aspects of the simulation in its current build, but that mainly allows them greater access to the submicroscopic level (as you've pointed out). Having all three levels available within the simulation at once would be an interesting challenge to undertake - thanks for the suggestion! 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.