Gar Jar Demos

I’ve recently been doing some demos showing how the pH of the period 3 oxides changes. The demos involved the combustion of various period 3 elements with oxygen, dissolving the oxide in water and adding universal indicator to show the pH. It’s very visual and always goes down well with the students. This made me think about all the different experiments I do using gas jars and the fume cupboard and I thought I would list them. I generally demo sodium, ...

Inquiry-based Learning

The MYP is all about inquiry-based learning but how much of it goes on in your diploma chemistry. 'I don't have enough time' is a commonly heard sentence in workshops. 'I can only just cover the content in the time I had, let alone fit in something extra'. Well, if you do it right, inquiry-based learning it should help you to gain a bit of time. First of all, I am sure many readers teach DP chemistry but not necessarily MYP science, so what ...

Concept-based Learning (CBL)

CBL or concept-based learning is (and has been) a real buzz word in IB circles. But what is concept-based learning and how can you bring it into the classroom? I am hoping that this month’s blog post will give you some ideas that will motivate you to find out more about CBL and hopefully, try it out in class. CBL is driven by ‘big ideas’, rather than content that is subject specific. CBL also supports the attributes of the learner profile. ...

Visible Thinking Routines

We have just had some great INSET on 'Visible Thinking Routines'.  To be honest, I thought this was going to be some complicated and difficult 'new' way of teaching things (apologies for my skepticism) but as the session went on I came to realize that yes, it was something new for me to think about and do but it wasn't at all complicated. In fact, many of the ideas used I already use myself anyway: the INSET session just helped me ...

Differentiating Your Lessons

When I started teaching (22 years ago) differentiation was the buzz word. We had extensive lectures on it in my teacher training qualification, and the schools I carried out my teaching practice in were ensuring that all of their lessons were ‘fully differentiated’. Invariably, this meant having three worksheets up your sleeve, an easy, medium, and difficult one. You would then give students a worksheet according to their ability (this was labelled differentiation by task). There was also differentiation by outcome, where ...

Teaching the Halogens: Some Ideas

How do you teach about the halogens? I am in the middle of teaching about them and thought it was worth telling you how I introduce the topic. I do like this topic as it provides lots of opportunities to link together parts of the course. Firstly, I will start with some theory, things such as the fact that the halogens are diatomic and are the only group whose members exist as solids, liquids and gases at room temperature. This then leads into ...

Teaching Equilibrium

I've just taught this topic and thought it was worth sharing my ideas as to how I introduced the topic and concept of equilibrium. Firstly, something worth considering before you launch into the topic is when do you teach it? In my opinion it needs to go after energetics. This is because some of the concepts need a good understanding of exothermic and endothermic reactions before one can decide on the effect of temperature on the position of equilibrium. It could ...

Making esters

We carried out a great lab in school today, making esters. Have you ever done this? What was good about it was that we used a good range of reagents and got some very different results. I set the class up with a range of alcohols and carboxylic acids and told them it was up to them what they wanted to make. We used microscale quantities for two important reasons: 1, As a safety precaution The beauty of using the microscale quantities is that ...

Four new IB Study Guides Available!

By Wednesday, October 11, 2017 No tags 3

We are pleased to announce the release of four new titles to the OSC IB Study Guide range. Biology Internal Assessment, 3rd ed. SL & HL Ashby Merson-Davies This Guide provides practical support for the Internal Assessment for IBDP Biology, covering all the essential tools and skills, including guidance on statistics. It offers clear insights into interpreting the assessment criteria, using common software, and structuring the write-up. Chemistry Internal Assessment, 1st ed. SL & HL Dave Allen This Guide offers an up-to-date and practical approach to planning, writing, ...

Teaching optical isomers

I've just started to teach this topic to my students. It doesn't take too long but I do find it an enjoyable topic to teach. But how do you teach it? I always warn the students that the topic is jargon heavy - the words / phrases used in the topic such as  chiral, racemic, racemate, optically active are all pretty specific to optical isomers and are not used outside of the topic. In my teaching I have found that students understand the ...