I’ll never set a project again.

A Chemical Orthodoxy

Years ago, I used to set a “model atom” project. In line with a school priority about developing independence, and my own beliefs about engaging students in science outside the classroom, I set the project with gusto. I carefully prepared level ladders and checklists to make sure students were including the information I wanted and were properly researching their atom of choice.

When due date came along, my lab had never seen so much activity before 8.30am. Beaming students, bedecked with enormous models, came in and out to lay their precious cargo on the sides, wary of damaging them in their lockers or on the playground. I stole a quick look and was mighty impressed. It was clear a lot of work had gone into them. Some students used polystyrene, others used balloons, one had built one from wood and had it hanging from a hand made stand.

During the…

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