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 ...

Putting your course together

This blog post is primarily aimed at teachers new to the course …. But that said, even if you are an experienced teacher it is always worth reviewing how you do things. There are always lots of things to consider when setting up the course. Do you teach by yourself or do you share your group with another teacher? First things first I’m aiming this blog post at teachers who teach a class by themselves as in my experience, this seems to ...

The new EE – How are you getting on?

By Wednesday, August 2, 2017 , 0

The new extended essay (EE) guide has been out for a while now – how are you doing with it? Has it changed much in the way you set up and run your EE programme? From the chemistry side of things, I hope you have not seen many (if any changes). Students still need to carry out research and whilst not compulsory, will hopefully carry out some lab based research. That has all stayed the same. The research question (RQ) is also ...