Periodic Troubles and Screencasting

Screencasts and concept illustration

It is interesting how posts develop in this blog. For the last two weeks I have been working on a screencasting post to celebrate my first screencast, which I posted on my YouTube channel. But I have had a little trouble with some unexpected construction scenarios in GeoGebra for another screencast I wanted to add to the post.

And just yesterday, I was asked to teach several classes of an introductory Periodic Table unit. My students consistently (every year) have trouble with key concepts in this unit, and I always end up wanting for some videos to illustrate the otherwise arm-waving concepts they have difficulty with.

So, with this Periodic Table unit in mind, last month I participated in a Moodle course on screencasting, my notes for which you can find on my PD page. The way I see it, there is no video out there that will address my students’ confusions better than a video that I make myself — unless of course my students make their own videos. And I do realize this video will likely not serve the specific needs of other students and other teachers, as it will just miss the mark and fail to address exactly what other teachers need to elaborate.

I already have several resources for this unit: a couple of web pages on introductory molar chemistry (conceptual only) and periodic tables, which are chalk full of links, and a post that complements these.

But I want to see if there is more out there. So I started a tweet, and realized there was no way I could say in one tweet what I wanted. So I started this post. Interesting how these posts develop.

This post is more of a request. My students are just getting their first exposure to the Periodic Table. They have trouble with:

1. valence, families or groups (periodic table columns) and periods (periodic table rows) — essentially, basic electron configuration principles, Pauli’s Principle, Hund’s Rule, et cetera, and
2. energy states and electron exchange during ionic reactions. Much of the problem with this lies in the insistence of schools on teaching kids to “orbit” electrons around the atomic nucleus, thereby confusing orbital and electron configuration understanding.

Do you know of or have any great short activities, concise and clear resources, or videos that address and illustrate these concepts?

I would like to expose my students to others’ works and explanations, in addition to those I will be making this week and weekend. The resources and activities need to be short since I am a substitute and for the most part will be following the lesson plans of the teacher I am subbing for, but I would love to expand my students’ learning base.

I appreciate any help anyone offers and will proudly credit social networking and individuals for contributions. Knowing my kids, they will be thrilled by the reaching out and the resources that come in.

Thanks in advance from my students and me. I will post a follow-up to this request and let you know what resources were used, how they were received and how they helped my students’ understanding.