It seems the spring semester will be quite different from the fall semester. For starters, we’ve switched from human anatomy to basic chemistry. It’s been quite some time since I’ve looked at basic chemistry material, but I’m sure it will all come back to me. The other change is a schedule change. Landon is no longer on a block schedule, so now I will see all six sections every Thursday. This will definitely be a change, and perhaps a little bit of a challenge. On the one hand, it might be a good change because the shorter blocks might keep the students from getting too frustrated with the material. On the other hand, it will be more challenging to complete some of the experiments in such a short time frame. So, on to what we did in class! Today we worked on the basics: defining element, compound, and pure substance. The students worked with these terms yesterday, but many of them were still struggling. In this instance I think it was partly due to the textbook. I think the authors wanted to keep things simple, but in doing so they made things more confusing. For instance, they defined both compounds and elements as substances that we composed of the same particles, thereby making them both pure substances. However, by avoiding using the terms atom and molecule, they oversimplified and confused the students. We had them draw out a picture of each substance and I think that eventually helped clarify things. I suppose time will tell!