Chem for those who do not like it

Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:50 PM

I am an education major in my last 2 semesters.  I have always had a hard time with chemistry and really did not enjoy it.  Has anyone found a way for those who are not good at chemistry to want to be engaged and do well?

Morgan Bell
Morgan Bell
330 Activity Points

Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:04 PM

I always do an inventory of my students' interests at the start of the year and then try to tie concepts to their interests. We read an article on the first day about chemistry all around them. I've also had them write questions that they want answered about their world (for example: why does orange juice taste differently after brushing your teeth) and use those student-generated questions as guides to reach those students who don't show as much interest in Chemistry. Here is a link to the "Why Study Chemistry?" article.

Casey Moskau
Casey Moskau
60 Activity Points

Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:45 PM

To add to the other good points already shared, since chemistry is so abstract, I try to use models and online simulations such as Weekly hands on experiments are a must! Check out American Chemical Society’s resource at for simple explanations.

Christine Herald
Chris Herald
1475 Activity Points

Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:35 PM

In my experience, doing hands on projects makes the content more relatable. I enjoyed everything that I could be creative and involved with. Research shows project based learning leads to deeper conceptual understanding of content.

Sydney Murillo
Sydney Murillo
3300 Activity Points

Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:52 AM


I think you have hit the reason for NGSS right on the head! The phenomenon approach to learning is what drives those students in the classroom. When teachers engage their students with phenomena they have a true curiosity or interest in the interest levels in the classroom drive up. Students are shifting from this rote memorization or even just learning content in isolation; to having a role and a mission of trying to figure something out. Chemistry is especially daunting in isolation. When you give students a task, then build a story around that task where now they need to know this information to complete the task. They will be more engaged. The hardest part is choosing a phenomenon that fits your students. You should figure out what are they interested in. What are things that would hook them? Once you get to know your students more you will know the types of phenomenon’s that will drive them.

Jessica Holman
Jessica Holman
555 Activity Points

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