I’m aware that chemistry is a very difficult subject. In order to succeed in my class students need to have a great capability to visualize abstract ideas. That is a concept that I always have in my mind when I plan my lessons. Abstract thinking is something that not everybody has, that’s why I need to look for other ways to facilitate the understanding of my content area.
When I’m teaching I use models and make a lot of similes in order to promote the understanding of a concept. I try to translate some of the concepts to things that are more visual: like chemical bonds for handshakes.
I also try to help my students to make connections with their daily experiences, by explaining why we do some things the way we do: how we prepare lemonade? How can we save money by using vinegar as a fabric softener? Why we cook adding the ingredients in a specific order? On one hand, chemistry is everywhere; on the other hand, some of its concepts in the curriculum are very difficult to understand.
I plan based on a practical application of the lesson that I will be delivering. That is the way I use to transform short-term memory into a long-term memory: in the form of semantic memory or maybe emotional memory. By relating the knowledge that students just acquire to real life situation.
And in my experience that works, when students can see the immediate application of the concept, they are more interested in that concept.