Jones Distinguished Lecture to be held April 18

April 11, 2013

A woman who heard from one of her high school teachers that girls could not “do chemistry” will be speaking as an expert on the topic.

MaryKay Orgill heard those words as a teenager – and now she holds degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical education.

Orgill, an associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas will discuss the importance of inquiry and discovery in laboratory activities. Her speech, “Sliding Toward Inquiry: Using the Essential Features of Inquiry to Improve Learning in the Laboratory Environment,” will discuss what science instructors have focused on in recent years: less “cookbook” activities in the lab and how to have students’ curiosity lead instruction.

Orgill’s lecture at Emporia State is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, April 18, 2013 in the Greek Room of ESU’s Memorial Union. The event is free and open to the public.                                                                           

In this interactive lecture, Orgill will discuss four historical laboratory instructional styles, their relationships to inquiry, variations of inquiry, and how instructors can use the “Five Essential Features of Inquiry” to make their laboratory activities more inquiry-oriented.

When she was a first-year faculty member with a joint appointment in biochemistry and science education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she took on the extra challenge of teaching a high school chemistry class.

In 2004, she moved to UNLV where her research focuses on using qualitative methods to examine students’ understandings of chemistry and biochemistry concepts.

Orgill has delivered professional development courses designed to increase the science and mathematics content knowledge of local elementary and secondary teachers. She is also involved with faculty professional development as the principal investigator of the Advancing Chemistry by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ACELL) project.

This will be the 25th Annual Jones Distinguished Lecture. The address is sponsored by the Jones Institute for Educational Excellence, ESU Departments of Physical Sciences, as well as the Flint Hills Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa.



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