P797: Inquiry-based chemistry for elementary and middle school teachers
At Eastern Kentucky University, our elementary and middle school teaching majors have the option to take a course developed especially for them, Inquiry-based chemistry for elementary and middle school teachers. This course is different from others in that it seeks to reconcile the published core content in science education relevant to chemistry, the need to incorporate enhanced technology into the classroom, the contemporary understanding that hands-on, inquiry-based learning and peer-mediated group work are able to communicate the ideas in any discipline far better than standard lecture modes, and the need to overcome basic fears and mistrust with regard to chemistry and science in general. This course gives a solid content-based understanding of chemistry, and its relationship to our needs as a society. Students completing the course have practical experience with how chemistry functions, a solid grasp of the main language of chemistry, an ability to describe matter and energy and their transformations, and an ability to use technological tools, especially the Internet for a Webquest and probes such as pH, to learn more about chemistry. An outline of the course and description of some of the activities used in this course will be discussed with appropriate references given for attendees to obtain this information for their use.