Liliia Khmarskaia Prepares Students for Real-Life Through Gizmos
As an Honors Chemistry and Honors Physics teacher for grades 10-12 at James M. Bennett (JMB) High School in Wicomico County School District in Salisbury, MD, Liliia Khmarskaia must find ways to demonstrate abstract concepts to students. During her second year of teaching, her supervisor introduced her to ExploreLearning Gizmos, providing the opportunity to show the unshowable, such as electrons, protons, and exchanging of electrons.
“Gizmos is a perfect platform to simulate these parts,” she said. “I notice that many of my kids, who are struggling with abstract concepts, find Gizmos helpful.” Khmarskaia uses Gizmos for unit introductions, whole class lessons, individual activities, and homework. The virtual simulations allow her students to better understand the chemical and physical processes in the world around them.
What about grades and motivation for learning? Khmarskaia said, “My students' averages have improved since I started using Gizmos in my teaching. I also have students who decided to take AP Science after my classes because they saw a point of how science is connected to real life, thanks to STEM Cases in Gizmos.”
She’d like to see more STEM Cases in the Gizmos library because they help her students connect the academic concepts of chemistry and physics with real-life problems. “Many of my kids really like STEM Cases (especially Water Crisis: Stoichiometry) because stoichiometry is a challenging unit for them,” Khmarskaia noted.
“My favorite Gizmo is Electrons and Chemical Reactions because we can repeat chemical reactions from that simulation as hands-on,” she said. Her students like Ocean Carbon Equilibrium because “they really care about the environment.” The high school teacher also uses the Bohr Model of Hydrogen Gizmo because it has the “perfect simulation for the Bohr model. My students really like to see the process of color emission, especially after hands-on lab work.”
What’s another awesome thing about using Gizmos in the classroom? “As a teacher, this platform is a time saver for me, as there are ready-made tasks and STEM hours, but I also like that I can modify assignments at any time,” observed Khmarskaia. “I want my colleagues to use this platform more often.”
Khmarskaia knows that understanding science concepts for everyday life is more important than theory. “Not all of our students will enter the chemical industry, but almost all of them will clean and cook at home. And we, as teachers of science, must prepare our students for real life.”
Thanks, Liliia Khmarskaia, for making sure that your students are ready!
Liliia Khmarskaia has a Master of Science in Physics and Computer Science and a Master of Arts in Teaching. She teaches Honors Chemistry and Honors Physics for grades 10-12 at James M. Bennett (JMB) High School in Wicomico County School District in Salisbury, MD. In addition to her classroom responsibilities, she is a co-advisor for the National Honor Society and JMB Garden Club and advisor of the JMB STEMinist Club.
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