This unit uses a wide variety of teaching strategies for two main reasons: science (and especially chemistry) is hands-on, and I think students learn better when they are doing active work themselves. Some strategies employed in this unit are: engaging students with an essential question for each lesson, hands-on inquiry activities that require students to manipulate tactile items with their hands, discuss science concepts with their peers, cooperate with their peers towards a specific goal, evaluate data and make predictions based on analysis of that data, and justify their opinions based on data they have gathered. Students are asked to make and explain models, to ask and evaluate their own questions, develop methods to solve problems, and reflect on their choices in class.
High school students are in a unique transition period of personality, habit, and brain development. This is an incredible opportunity to help them shape their brains into critical thinking machines. Engaging the many different ways humans learn by using the brain’s many pathways for information input is essential to growing those pathways for a nimble brain. Giving students time for reflection on their learning is crucial to self-awareness and metacognition, which is the crux of improving brain function, and increasing learning capacity. Science concepts also are inherently about experimentation and chemistry lends itself very well to hands-on learning, so lectures do occur, but they are the least engaging teaching strategy, and thus not my primary teaching method. I have included a vocabulary word list for this unit, because they are endlessly helpful for both teachers and students.