P908: High school laboratory sequence to foster laboratory skills and chemical literacy

Author: Sharon M. Palmer, Amherst Regional High School, USA


Date: 8/6/14

Time: 2:05 PM2:25 PM

Room: MAK A1151

Related Symposium: S67

My prior career as a college professor would, it seems, put me in an excellent position to help my high school students learn how to write quality laboratory reports. I know just what skills a college professor would expect of incoming first-year students. However, figuring out how to help my high school students develop these skills was more of a collaborative journey, involving my students and colleagues across the disciplines. Over time, we at ARHS have developed a laboratory sequence that not only strongly supports the curriculum, but at the same time emphasizes with each experiment a different laboratory skill (for example, observations or measurements). In this manner, with sufficient attention allowed for each particular task, students build not only their laboratory skills but also their laboratory report writing skills. These reports similarly reflect this emphasis on a single section, enabling both teacher and students to examine this skill with sufficient attention. This sequence of building specific skills while simultaneously promoting responsible literacy in the chemistry field has made for successful high school-to-college transitions for our students – and also meshes nicely with new Common Core requirements. I will outline our laboratory sequence, providing examples of experiments and directions.