Archive for February 2009



I wanted to share an email from that I received yesterday.

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning in the Classroom and Laboratory:
NSF Sponsored Workshops (DUE-0618746, 0618758, 0618800)

3-Day Workshops In Your Region:
Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI)
3-Day Workshop
Thursday, June 11th – Saturday, June 13th
Information and Online Application at:

University of Wisconsin (Platteville, WI)
3-Day Workshop Including Science Writing Heuristic
Thursday, July 30th – Saturday, August 1st
The NSF CCLI Program (DUE-0618708) is providing support for this event.
Information and Online Application at:

There is a $35 administrative fee, payable by each attendee following acceptance to all workshops.  Meals and lodging are included.

3-Day Workshops In Other Regions:

Salve Regina University (Newport, RI)
3-Day Workshop
Thursday, June 18th – Saturday, June 20th
Information and Online Application at:

Linfield College (McMinnville, OR)
3-Day Laboratory Workshop
Monday, June 29th – Wednesday, July 1st
Information and Online Application at:

Westminster College (Salt Lake City, UT)
3-Day Workshop
Thursday, July 9th – Saturday, July 11th
Information and Online Application at:

POGIL Southeast Regional Meeting at Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, GA)
3-Day Workshop
Monday, July 27th – Wednesday, July 29th
Information and Online Application at:

There is a $35 administrative fee, payable by each attendee following acceptance to all workshops.  Meals and lodging are included.

3-Day POGIL Workshop Description
The three-day POGIL workshop provides an opportunity for faculty with diverse backgrounds and experiences to learn more about POGIL and its implementation.  The workshop is designed, through a combination of parallel and plenary sessions, to be valuable to a full range of interested people – from those with little or no prior experience with POGIL to those who are experienced POGIL implementers and everyone in between.  Participants with relatively little experience or knowledge of POGIL will learn the basics of POGIL pedagogy and philosophy, including an introduction to classroom facilitation and activity structure and design.  More experienced participants will have opportunities to improve their facilitation and activity-writing skills.  Those participating in the three-day laboratory workshop will focus exclusively on implementing POGIL in the laboratory.

Typical workshop components include:
*POGIL pedagogy and philosophy
*POGIL classroom simulations
*Designing and writing POGIL activities
*Facilitating POGIL in the classroom
*POGIL laboratory approach

To as great an extent as possible, the workshop will be tailored to the interests and needs of the attendees.  Examples of possible additional topics include:

*Discussing specific materials for specific courses
*Addressing specific issues from past attempts to facilitate POGIL
*Overcoming barriers to implementation
*Training and supervising teaching assistants
*Implementing in large classrooms
*Integrating process skills into a classroom / written activity
*Providing opportunities for peer review of written activities
Support for this work is provided by the National Science Foundation’s Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Program under grants DUE – 0618746, 0618758 and 0618800.

To learn more about POGIL and the POGIL Project, please visit the POGIL website (

I wanted to go the workshop in MI, but I will still be in school thanks to all of the winter weather (and hurricane winds) we’ve had this year.  However,  I am trying to talk my wife into letting me go to Rhode Island.

Have you ever been to a three day POGIL workshop? If so, how was it?


Schedules and Daily Quizzes


So, I have really gotten a feel for how I am going to run this course.  We are just over a week into class and things have been going very well.  The comment was made today that the class time seems to fly by.  I was really excited to hear that.  I have noticed that I am keeping pace (+/- 1 day) with the other (standard courses).  This is good news when it comes to implementing this inquiry approach to all of my sections of chemistry.

The daily format works as such:

  1. Daily Quiz
  2. Review Daily Quiz
  3. New material (lecture or discussion so far, we try a small POGIL approach tomorrow)
  4. Process Workshop (group/lab work)
  5. Wrapup
  6. Assign Homework

The biggest change I have seen in my students is that they are keeping up with their work.  The daily quizzes are wonderful for keeping track of where the students are and showing the students the important topics.  I give them a quiz each day over the topic of the previous day.  I have one rule when writing one of these quizzes: The question must not be a throw away question.  That is, it must relate to the real-world and be in depth.  This is harder to do than I first thought.  Because each quiz is only one or two questions, the students take more time and effort into answering it than they would a 50 point test.  They take the time to reflect on what the question in asking.  Today, the question was:

A student was working in the lab.  She mixed two beakers of different volumes together.  Using the data below, what was her final volume.

Beaker A – 98.53 mL

Beaker B – 0.2 L

This combined significant figures and metric conversions.  The discussion after the quiz focused on the significant figures as must students had not considered them.  This as been a big problem in our chemistry classes.  During the lab we worked on later (pg 8 in the course guide), the students considered the use of sig figs in their answers.

So far, the quiz scores have been good and, more importantly, improving.

That is my big news for today.

Do you do a daily quiz in your class? What are your rules for writing good questions?