STAO Conference Papers:

One of the aims of the chemical education research project is to provide information of relevance to high school teachers. While the primary focus is obviously on students taking chemistry, much of this information will be equally applicable to other science subjects.

Preliminary findings, suggestions, and recommendations for teachers have been presented at the Science Teacher’s Association of Ontario (STAO) conferences. Some of the talks and handouts can be downloaded here. Please feel free to download and print copies of any of the materials you find on this page – just send a quick e-mail or letter to say you have done so! Comments, questions, and suggestions are also welcomed.

Note: further details can be found in other presentations which are also available for download.

STAO 2011:

Study Skills & Success in Science

Solving Problems Using Problem Solving

Many students struggle to transition from high school to university, with up to a quarter of them seeing their chemistry grades drop by as much as 30 to 60 percentage points. The reasons for this are varied and complex, but known factors include persistent alternative or naive conceptions (also called misconceptions), and poorly developed problem solving skills. This interactive workshop examines different ways to structure questions as both diagnostic and formative assessment tools in order to identify and address some of the more common misconceptions in high school/first year undergraduate chemistry. The second half of the workshop looks at problem solving: what constitutes a problem, the strategies experts use for solving problems, and how these can be introduced to students. Throughout, discussion is framed within the context of relevant learning theories and draw heavily on the available research literature, placing it firmly within a chemistry context. Additional examples and resources are provided in the handout to supplement workshop activities.

Previous STAO Conferences: