Yesterday was a little interesting. You see, the students had a short quiz on ions in chemistry (I am sure that those of you who read this that have taken this class remember the quizzes on items that you need to memorize. Oh, so much excitement.) and then they needed to work on formula writing. The interesting thing about these types of quizzes is that the students all finish at different times. I guess they are not all the same.
Let me back up a little. There is a lot in chemistry that is thought of as memorization but if you know how to use the tools, like the Periodic Table, you can find reason in what you are looking at. The students in my classes have been working on these patterns for about a month and I hope that the scores on the quiz reflect this work.
Now, back to yesterday...
As they finished the quiz, at their own pace, they looked up to find simple instructions on the board. They were to start up their laptops and find my notes on-line. I tried to post a PowerPoint show on the school webpage so that the students could go through the information when they were ready. There was then some questions for them to answer and a worksheet for them to start on. The amazing thing was that all of the students were on task as I walked around the room helping them with information that was a little confusing. Even though the students were all at different points in the process they all were aware of where they needed to be for Monday and could find the information at a time (if they ran out of class time) that would be handy for them.
The best thing about this activity was that some of the students were using my notes along with a couple of college sources and wikipedia. They were building their own rules for naming chemical compounds that were in the proper rules but they had ownership of this material. You see, the material was not coming from one person to them but they were putting together information to build an understanding of the world around them.
What a wonderful concept. Students making their own learning and understanding with guidance. What will we (or someone else) think of next?