87th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 15 January 2007: 5:15 PM
Using Oceanography Examples to Teach Chemical Principles-A Sea of Connections!
206B (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Bruce G. Smith, University of Wisconsin Colleges, Appleton, WI
Good pedagogical practice indicates that the more connections students can make about a specific concept, the more likely the students are to internalize the concept. As stated in the National Science Education Standards (NSES), "The program of study in science for all students should be developmentally appropriate, interesting, and relevant to students' lives; emphasize student understanding through inquiry; and be connected with other school subjects. (Science Education Program Standard B, National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment, National Research Council). Further, the closer those connections are to the students' personal experiences the more apt the students are to apply the concept.

Oceanography is a realm that peaks student interest. Even students far removed from an ocean environment have experienced ocean phenomena through travel, media and/or the internet. In the authors' over 30 years of teaching chemistry he has found many examples of good chemistry in lessons based in other disciplines particularly the Earth sciences. This has made the teaching of chemistry more effective, interesting to students, and allowed him to dispel misconceptions students have about how the Earth system works. Further, contextualizing the chemistry curriculum with oceanography examples not only serves to enhance the teaching of chemical principles but may also be the best opportunity for exposing high-potential secondary students to interesting oceanography topics and themes. Involvement with the American Meteorological Society's teacher enhancement course DataStreme Ocean has given the author the opportunity to make specific connections between principles taught in an introductory oceanography course and concepts taught in a typical first year high school chemistry course. Some specific examples include the physical properties of seawater (density, salinity, temperature, etc.), pH of seawater, and using the Law of the Minimum to illustrate chemical stoichiometry. The author will offer specific lessons that may be interjected into a chemistry course to enhance curriculum, interest students, and add relevance.

This paper is a companion paper to one previous published by the author: “MSTA Journal”, The Michigan Science Teachers Association, Winter 2002, Volume 47, No. 1, “Using Meteorological Examples to Teach Chemical Principles: Connections Are in the Air!”

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