Show 115: Increasing Rigor and Engagement in Chemistry

Ken EhrmannpowerED Up Podcast

Ty White is the 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year and was an amazing guest. He teaches Chemistry 1 and Chemistry 2 to high school students.  The class is focused on experiences, phenomena, and observing the world around them.  He backs those experiences up with the math second. His approach is increasing retention and enrollment in Chemistry 2.
  • The perspective of Ty’s life experiences helps him focus his energy on not allowing students to slip through the cracks. He wants all students to have a chance to succeed.
  • Use your background and stories to help connect with the students and build positive relationships.
  • The level of engagement and buy-in in his first year of Chemistry differs greatly from in his second year.  The first-year students must take his class, and the second-year students are electing more.  To increase engagement, he focuses on exploring phenomena first, then following up with math later.
  • The second-year students electing to take the class are ready for the math and higher-level concepts.
  • As teachers, we can connect classroom standards to the interactions of the real world, especially in the local communities.
  • There are ways to engage students to bring relevancy to the content and not create unnecessary pressure to turn this into a career.
  • Utilize the STEM mindset to capture real learning experiences in your classroom.
  • Ty launched a non-profit organization, Industry Simulation Education, where students have to create a habitat in another environment.

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