Chemistry in the Classroom

EDUC 340/EDUC 740: Special Topics in Educational Studies

Class Meetings: July 7th - August 1st

M, W, Th: 9:00am-11:00am in-class time, 11:45-2:00 in lab

These time slots indicate the amount of time anticipated in each class setting. The actually time in each location will vary day to day.


The 3 credits earned in the course can be applied towards MSDE certificate renewal, since they are graduate credits. In turn, that can go towards the "+30" for advancing up the scale.


If you are interested in taking the course, email the course instructor or click on the button below!

Course Learning Goals

This course will use a student-oriented pedagogy with an integrated content focus to help students develop important ideas in chemistry.


The course has four major learning goals:

  1. Core Ideas: Students will develop a deep understanding of basic chemical concepts and reasoning in order to explain everyday phenomena. The topics will align with the Next Generation Science Standards and focus around three core ideas: structure, properties, and energy.
  2. Science Practices: Students will develop an understanding of how knowledge is generated within a scientific community, with an emphasis on the following science practices: generating of multiple models representing scientific concepts, explanations of the models, the use of evidence to test explanations, and argumentation about the findings.
  3. Learning about learning: Students will develop awareness of how their own ideas about chemical concepts change and develop, and how the structure of the learning environment and curriculum facilitates these changes.
  4. Elementary and middle school students’ ideas: Students will analyze the thinking of elementary and middle school students who are engaged in scientific inquiry, in order to become familiar with common ways of thinking, productive learning resources, conceptual difficulties, etc. that are present in these young students.
Questions about Contemporary Chemistry? CLICK HERE!

In order to register for the class, contact Kelly Neiles.

About the class...

This lab-based course will involve students alternating between working through guided activities in small groups, participating in full class discussions, and working in the chemistry laboratory.


  • During the small group work, students will go at their own pace, making predictions, conducting experiments, working with computer simulations, and discussing ideas.
  • The full class discussions will allow students to check, verify, and perhaps modify the ideas about chemistry concepts from small group work.


Learning is thus student directed, and achieved through collaboration and consensus. There is little or no lecturing. Instead, the instructor will provide guidance and facilitate the students’ work. The curriculum is designed for students to take charge of their own learning.


The cost of the course is $585, with a $150 SMCM registration fee. The $150 is non-refundable, but it grants you free access to all of SMCM, including the gym, swimming pool, library, etc.

SMCM has set up direct billing with SMCPS for this course.


The 3 credits earned in the course can be applied towards MSDE certificate renewal, since they are graduate credits. In turn, that can go towards the "+30" for advancing up the scale.

Students in the course will find that many of the learning and teaching strategies used will be valuable and appropriate for use in their own classroom!

For more information...

Kelly Y. Neiles, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

St. Mary's College of Maryland

18952 E. Fisher Road

St. Mary's City, MD 20686