Posted tagged ‘POGIL’

5 week report


I am now five weeks into using the POGIl approach and I love it.  The students are engaged and thinking.  Most of the students have a positive attitude about the process.  I am staying at the same speed as the other chemistry teachers and my average test score is comparable.

There are problems as well.  First, I am struggling to lead the students back to the models instead of to the text or leading their thinking.  This is what I have heard from other teachers who are using POGIL.  I think this is where the workshop training would help tremendously.  I have also found that some groups are not working together as well as they should.  Some students feel they can get by without doing anything and others feel that the group is holding them back.  I think I have not been emphasizing the importance of the roles enough.  I plan on changing groups (keeping some together) and changing the format so that each person is more engaged.  I am struggling to lead a discussion after the learning workshops.  I think as I build that skill, the students will feel more involved in their roles.

Overall, I am very pleased at this point.  I can’t wait to see how they perform on the midterm and assess the format against my own classes from the past.

Do you have any suggestions to make POGIL more effective?




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?

Four Types of Inquiry


I came across this great article in International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education titled “Facilitating Chemistry Teachers to Implement Inquiry-Based Laboratory Work” (2007, 6: 107 – 130).  Basically, Dr. Derek Cheung implemented inquiry labs into seven classrooms in Hong Kong.  Cheung,  a Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, inserviced the teachers on inquiry and met several times with them throughout the research.

My goal next semester is to implement POGIL activities, inquiry lab work, and practical tests.  I have focused by reading on POGIL and I felt that this would be a great source for inquiry labs.  It was!  I wanted to share some of the major points of the article.

There are four levels of inquiry:

  1. Confirmation Inquiry – verifying concepts by following a procedure
  2. Structured Inquiry – following a procedure to find an answer
  3. Guided Inquiry – Teacher provides a question, students design an experiment to find answer
  4. Open Inquiry – Students ask the question, then find the answer

Cheung recommends that most of class time should be spent in guided inquiry. This also fits with the POGIL approach, but focusing on the laboratory.

 He then gives six criteria for implementing these labs:

  1. The laboratory work should be designed as a guided inquiry rather than an open inquiry
  2. The guided inquiry must engage students in solving real-world problems
  3. The solution to the guided inquiry should not be predictable
  4. The teacher should require a few groups of students to present their experimental plan orally so that a feasible procedure for collecting data can result from a consensus approach
  5. Teacher questioning is critically important during student oral presentations
  6. Assessmesnt criteria must be given to students in advance

I think these two lists provide a decent framework for creating an inquiry based chemistry classroom.  I hope to focus my classroom within the structured inquiry and guided inquiry bands.  However, I hope to implement one or two open inquiry labs.

I also found some other good information from Dr. Cheung concerning inquiry lab examples and multiple choice assessments.

What type of labs do you do in your classroom?  Share them here!