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As the end of school approaches, students as well as teachers alike begin to dream of running on white sandy beaches, soaking up the sun and getting soaked in clear blue waters or taking time out to become one with nature. These summer experiences are all wonderful and exciting. My 14 year old daughter wants to have the experience of watching the sunset behind the waters of the Ft Pierce inlet. This is a big teenage change from past elementary/middle school summer experiences. With all of this dreaming and anticipation, she still has the task of a summer reading list as she prepares for her first year of high school. Summer reading lists can enhance and make summer experiences more meaningful. So I will let her read about sunsets and then go experience one. No matter what the change is in her choice of reading interests, I be it. I just want her to continue her love for reading.

Learning stoichiometry is all about using proportions. For example, if 1 dozen eggs is 12 eggs, then 2 dozen would be 24 eggs. Stoichiometry starts in the kitchen!!! Changing a recipe to fit the number of guest or servings is a start. Kitchen recipes use counting terms such as slices, cups, spoonfuls etc. For example, 2 cups of sugar are used with 1 whole egg to make 1 big cake. Chemistry recipes or balanced equations use the counting term moles. For example, 2 moles of hydrogen gas reacts with 1 mole of oxygen gas to make 2 moles of water molecules. Changing the kitchen recipe to make 2 big cakes will require 4 cups of sugar and 2 whole eggs. Changing the chemistry recipe to make 4 moles of water molecules requires 2 moles of oxygen gas and 4 moles of hydrogen gas. This seems simple and IT IS!!!!! However, there is more to it than this. Once you learn this part of the stoichiometric process, changing any unit to moles should be easy to incorporate. Moles is the key!!!!!!!

If I could go back in time, I would've continued to go to school right after undergrad. I waited and feel as though I wasted a lot of time. However, I am finding that it is never too late to continue. Although I am now continuing my education, in hind site, it would have been easier early in life because my responsibilities now are greater than 20 years ago. There is a lot to juggle, but I have faith that I will make it.

I am very passionate about learning. As a teacher of 18 years, I have always and still am thinking of new ways of making complex chemistry concepts comprehensible for students. My most memorable high school teacher was my algebra teacher. He was dynamic. I remember that an A grade according to him was actually an A2. This grading encouraged me to continue to want to be the best. He had a way of teaching that made it quite easy for me to attain those A2's in algebra. As he would always say, "KISS your work". When meant to "keep it simple-stupid". By doing this we could then apply what we learned to more complex structures throughout the learning process. This way of teaching has stayed with me throughout my career and as a result many of my students have gone on to medical and engineering school. Even now the student-teacher relationship still continues.

An easy and memorable way to teach the relationship between isotopes and average atomic mass is to calculate your grade point average (GPA). Just as each class grade contributes to your overall GPA, each atom in an element contributes to the element's average atomic mass. The atom or grade with the highest # frequency of occurrence (abundance) affects the average. For example, 5A's, 1B, and 1C will give a grade that is close to the points of an A, which is 4.0. The average grade in this example is 3.57. The following formula can be used to get the average: [(# of grades) x (grade points)] + [(# of grades) x (grade points)] + .......... / (total # of grades) = GPA. This is because the grade of "A" has the higher # frequency which makes the GPA closest to it. An atom's frequency or percent abundance works the same. The following formula is used: (% abundance) x (atom's mass) +........... = average atomic mass. No need to divide by the total number of... read more

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