Ep. 63 – Kids’ Chemical Solutions with Dr. Colleen Kelley

Tim StephensonScience 360 Podcast

Think chemistry is boring? Think again! Dr. Colleen Kelley has created a chemistry comic book
series filled with colorful characters and exciting storylines that translate complex chemistry into animated mysteries. Her comics and unique imagination have turned the Periodic Table into a playground of chemical adventure and have allowed elementary school students to master concepts often taught at the college level.

Dr. Colleen Kelley is the Creator and Founder of Kids’ Chemical Solutions
(www.kidschemicalsolutions.com) which is a comic-book based chemistry curriculum intended for kids ages 8 – 108.

Her journey as a chemist began at The University of Richmond where she received her B.S. in Chemistry. She fell in love with the world of discovery and research and wanted to continue explore more chemistry.

She headed to Penn State University and dashed through graduate school receiving her Ph.D. in chemistry at the age of 24. She was having so much fun doing chemistry research that she accepted a Chateaubriand Postdoctoral Fellowship in Strasbourg, France with Nobel Prize winner Jean-Marie Lehn.

Colleen was a first-generation college student who kept following her flow of having fun doing
chemistry research. Fast forward 30 years later to the tail-end of her career teaching chemistry in higher education, Colleen finds herself captivated by the question, “Why do my students think chemistry is SO hard?”

Dr. Kelley now conducts her research in Chemical Education to uncover this mystery. What she has discovered is that learning chemistry is very much like learning music. Both disciplines are dependent on the interpretation of symbols and the development of fluency with these symbols. We know that the best time to learn music is between ages 6 – 10 when the brain has the plasticity to make the neural connections necessary. We NOW know,
through Dr. Kelley’s research, that this is also the best time to learn chemistry.

Dr. Kelley is now teaching in 4th and 5th grade classrooms in Arizona using her chemistry comic book series. The kids are excited and embracing learning through this platform.

What’s next? “My WHY is to make learning chemistry fun, accessible, and inclusive so that it becomes a ‘normal’ part of a child’s education.”

Connect with Colleen:
Twitter: @kids_chem
LinkedIn: Colleen Kelley, Ph.D.

Here's a brilliantly creative way to teach chemistry in grades 4-12, using a comic book series! Check out @kids_chem and listen to Dr. Colleen Kelley explain the series she created #tbpodcaster Click To Tweet


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