Middle and high school science teachers continue to enjoy the hands-on chemistry professional development offered through the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Belmont University’s annual “It’s Easy Being Green: Budget-Friendly Safety-Conscious Chemistry Labs for the Science Classroom of Today” summer workshop series. Attendees commented:
“I loved this! Super useful & affordable labs!”
“…the course was so well-prepared and laid out that I truly felt like it was a valuable way to spend the day.”
“Loved the differentiation that can be applied with each of these labs.”
“The best labs yet!”
Event organizer, Dr. Danielle Garrett, assistant professor of chemistry education, held three day-long workshops in the advanced chemistry lab during the month of June. “Sharing this program and engaging with the teachers each year is always exciting for me! These days are not just about hands-on lab experiences for the teachers. These days produce such rich discussions about data, error analysis, new ideas and adaptations for science labs. It’s a good feeling knowing that this is a program that local teachers find useful, practical and fun!” Garrett said.
This year, 43 attendees from 12 counties participated in the workshop series at Belmont, with more than 25 percent of the participants having attended at least one previous workshop since the program’s inception in 2015. Historically, most attendees have been from the middle Tennessee region. However, this year marked the beginning of the program reaching out-of-state teachers, with over 20 percent of the attendees coming from Kentucky.
The workshop this year, titled “Beat the Heat, Catch a Wave and Make it Float,” engaged participants in lab work focusing on the determination of the heat of neutralization through solution calorimetry, the analysis of wavelength and light, and the exploration of density, percent composition by volume and weighted averages. Workshop participants not only received a complete instructor-student lab manual, but they also built an LED box and spectroscope that they were able to take back with them for use in their classrooms.
“This is the 4th year that I’ve conducted this workshop series. While all under the ‘It’s Easy Being Green umbrella,’ each year I get the opportunity to develop new lab experiences for the participants,” Garrett said. “Developing different and creative ways of linking concepts and addressing fundamental chemistry content for the lab is challenging, but it’s a challenge that I enjoy. Not only has this program given me the chance to reach out and connect with science educators, but it has also afforded me new opportunities for personal scholarship.”