Using Switch Classroom for High School Chemistry

Trisa Swenson  ·  SEA Teacher Advisory Council
September 8, 2022

I teach Chemistry at an inner city school in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chemistry is sometimes hard for students to understand. After we have covered mole conversions (stoichiometry), my students are tired and need a break from the hard math involved in chemistry. After discovering the Switch Classroom two years ago and using it in my AP Environmental Science classes, I decided to use it in Chemistry to teach students about energy. Many Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are covered by Switch classroom. 

Students need to become aware of the various resources that are available that humans use to provide energy. First, students need to be aware of how electricity works. Then, we discuss where we get our energy locally. Hoover Dam provides over four billion kilowatt hours of electricity to Nevada, California, and Arizona each year. Only 355 megawatts are used by Las Vegas. Interestingly, the Las Vegas city government is powered completely by renewable energy. By discussing this before we begin the unit, students are aware of how and where the energy we use locally is produced. Discuss where your location gets its energy before beginning the Switch Classroom lessons.

Switch Classroom is a great resource to use when teaching energy education. The content is engaging with its use of high-quality videos that hold students’ attention while they learn. The platform is ideal for use in a blended classroom or for virtual learning. 

Class starts with students watching a short introductory video on the Switch platform on the topic of the day. Students take the quiz associated with the video to check their understanding. I assign the writing assignments associated with each topic. This helps students get some science writing practice. As a class, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of that day’s energy resource after they have completed the day’s assignments.

Introduction to Electricity 

Coal Formation and Use 

Coal Benefits and Costs: The Big picture

Introduction to Natural Gas

Introduction to Oil

Introduction to Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power – pros and cons

Hydropower

Solar Power

Wind Power

Transportation alternatives

Smarter Energy Use 

By the time we have finished this unit, my students have a better understanding of many of the types of energy resources available around the world and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type. Students will explore ways that they can reduce their energy impact on the planet. 

When you want to add new content to your energy unit in Chemistry, use the Switch Classroom resources. You won’t be sorry.

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