High School Program

Organizers: Judie Flint Baumwirt, Science Department Chairperson, Granada Hills Charter High School, 10535 Zelzah Avenue, Granada Hills, CA 91344, tel: (818) 360-2361 Ext 405, Email: jbaumwirt@ghchs.com; and Paul Shin, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA 91330-8241, tel; (818) 677-6887, Email: alchemy@csun.edu

The program was organized to allow for a general opening session that was dedicated to the theme of the National Conference – Natural Resources, for all attendees. The High School Program contained a variety of activities with an equal balance of talks, demonstrations, hands-on activities including instructional support materials. Extensive donated teacher and classroom materials were also provided. An afternoon of concurrent sessions of hands-on presentation or demonstration activities were offered that would provide equal interest to keep a balanced program. For example, Moodle and Smart Board Technology Presentations were offered simultaneously as was AP level and standard High School level demonstration and standards-based instructional strategies workshops. This was done intentionally to provide choices for attendees as well as to insure adequate audience support for each presenter.

The 2011 High School Day was opened by Chair, Judith Flint Baumwirt with an introduction to the Keynote Speaker, Dr. John Warner co-founder of Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. Dr. Warner provided an interesting overview of the future of chemistry and chemistry education within the context of the National Conference theme of Natural Resources.

Amy Cannon and Rachel Pokrandt of Beyond Benign (www.beyondbenign.org) presented remarkable online resources for instructors on green chemistry and sustainability as well as a variety of freely available hands-on instructional activities for use in the high school chemistry classroom.

Jennifer Schuttlefield of the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh introduced The SHArk Project (Solar Hydrogen Activity Research Kit) which provides high school students the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research to discover stable oxide semiconductors that can efficiently photoelectrolyze water and that is economically viable. (http://www.thesharkproject.org/).

At the close of a fabulous luncheon, Dr. Jesse D. Bernstein, of the Miami Country Day School was honored with the presentation of the James Bryant Conant Award followed by his enlightening personal address which touched upon historical contributions to chemistry education. Dr. Bernstein earned this prestigious award for excellence in high school chemistry teaching due to his dedicated local, national, and international work supporting chemistry students and teachers.

Participants were provided a variety of concurrent workshops to choose among in the afternoon. Dr. Clemens Heske a research physicist with the Chemistry Department of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas presented an overview of the need for a full portfolio of energy sources for future sustainability in his presentation on current solar cell research and its relevance to high school chemistry instruction. Concurrently, Dr. Sarah Tolbert of the UCLA California NanoSystem Institute provided an overview, demonstration and supporting materials on a hands-on nanotechnology activity that can be conducted in the high school chemistry classroom.

Dr. Kent Crippen of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas detailed the use of Moodle in the Chemistry classroom along with the focus on empowering students to take ownership of their own learning and progress through this medium. Concurrently, Dr. Debbie Bennett of Calabasas High School and Jeremy Short of A+ Interactive Technologies described the many capabilities of the Smart Board in chemistry classrooms both as an instructional focal point, student interactive and web tool.

Well known AP Instructor, Paul Groves of South Pasadena High School (also of www.chemybear.com fame) shared engaging instructional strategies for visualization and demonstration purposes for students at all levels. Concurrently, new teacher, Ethan Sullivan of Granada Hills Charter High School hosted an engaging New Teacher Discussion Forum sharing a variety of standards-based demonstrations with detailed handouts that can be utilized for all levels of students.

Dr. Michael G. Walter and Qixi Mi of Caltech’s Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering introduced a new inquiry-based lab curriculum for biology, chemistry and physics. The “Juice from Juice” kit is a berry juice sensitized TiO solar cell activity introduces concepts in electrochemistry, nanotechnology and materials science and is available to schools for research. (solarmy@caltech.edu). Concurrently, Douglas Otte of the Chemistry Department of the University of Irvine provided an overview and video of the outreach program to Orange County high school chemistry classrooms provided by graduate students. Demonstrations and activities conducted by visiting graduate students help to connect students to fundamental chemistry concepts.

Dr. Tom Lane, 2009 President of the American Chemical Society was found among the audience and was recognized for his very generous personal donation to this year’s High School Day. He was introduced and provided a very inspirational talk on the state of chemistry education well appreciated by the audience of high school teachers.

Erica Jacobsen and Laura Slocum of the Journal of Chemical Education provided an overview of the many activities available in the Journal for use in the high school chemistry classroom. A variety of engaging hands-on interdisciplinary activities and instructional materials were provided for attendees to experience that connected concepts of art, science and sustainability well supporting and providing an excellent workshop closure to the National Conference theme of Natural Resources.

Michael Morgan of Bravo Medical Magnet brought the workshop sessions to a close with a moving dedication and celebration of chemistry education contributions of Dr. Paul Shin of the Biochemistry and Chemistry Department of California State University, Northridge who was co-chair for the High School Day but who unexpectedly passed away October, 2010.

High School Day participants received a bevy of materials as well as extensive prize drawings provided by the following generous companies and vendors: A+ Interactive Technologies, ACS DivCHED Exams Institutes, ACS Office of International Activities, Apple, Inc., ChemMatters Magazine, Carolina Biological Supply Company, Chemical Abstracts Services, Flinn Scientific, Institute for Chemical Education, Journal of Chemical Education, Pearson Prentice Hall, Rainbow Symphony, Inc. Scholar Chemistry (VWR), Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society (SCALACS), Steve Spangler Science, Vernier Software and Technology.