Chemistry – John Gelder (New and Experienced Teachers)

John has been teaching in the introductory chemistry program at Oklahoma State University for over 30 years. He has been involved with the AP Chemistry program and the College Board since 1988. From 1989 to 1992 he developed and taught AP Chemistry By Satellite to rural and urban high schools around the United States. John was an AP Reader from 1990 to 2005 and then from 2009 – 2018. From 2002 – 2005 he served as Chief Faculty Consultant for AP Chemistry. John returned to the Reading in 2009 as an Exam Leader. In 2018 he attended the Reading as a Table leader. In 2006 and 2007 John served on the College Board AP Chemistry Curriculum Alignment Commission. This group was responsible for developing the content outline for the redesigned AP Chemistry course. John was appointed to AP Chemistry Test Development Committee from 2010 to 2013. In 2012 and in 2019 John attended AP Chemistry Professional Development Workshops that provided training and materials focusing on the new AP Chemistry framework and curriculum and the use of inquiry in the classroom. Throughout his teaching career John has integrated computers into his teaching. In 2002 he and Dr. Michael Abraham from the University of Oklahoma received an NSF grant to develop a series of particulate level animations and the corresponding guided and open-inquiry activities. The MoLE project web site ( provides teacher access to all the animations and activities. Along with Mike Abraham at the University of Oklahoma and Tom Greenbowe at the University of Oregon, John worked on a new technology project

( that provides activities before class, during class and after class using a learning cycle design to help student better understand introductory chemistry content. Participants will have access to an APSI web site that includes homework assignments (with answers), sample examinations (with answers) and additional activities that can be incorporated into the classroom.

We will also be welcoming Lisa McGaw as a Guest Instructor for this session.

AP Chemistry Course Description

The summer institute will discuss topics important for the current AP chemistry experience:  a) provide insight into changes in the new AP Chemistry curriculum, b) introduce the new on-line quizzes and test bank,  c) introduce the new improved learning objectives and science practices, d) discuss and demonstrate how inquiry can be used in the AP Chemistry classroom and laboratory to help students understand fundamental chemistry concepts, and e) analyze the 2019 AP Chemistry Exam.

Starting in May, 2019 the College Board will provide a new Course and Exam Description (CED). The CED will contain chemistry content separated into nine Units, LOs associated with specific Essential Knowledge statements, Science Practices/Skills that are closely connected with the content units and a smaller set of Big Ideas that connect all the concepts in the course.  In February, the College Board held a training session for all AP Chemistry Consultants.  This APSI will discuss the new AP Classroom along with all of the new resources available to AP teachers and students in the Fall of 2019. AP Chemistry teachers, know much of the content to be taught, however, teachers may not be familiar with the depth and breadth of the content being assessed on the AP Chemistry Exam. Additionally, teachers may want suggestions and guidance on how to move students who earned a 1 or a 2 on the AP Chemistry Exam towards a 3, how to move 3’s to 4’s and 4’s to 5’s. We will provide sample activities that may provide a different approach to teaching topics. All of the resources that teachers will use, and many others, will be available at no additional cost through an AP Chemistry website developed by Professor John Gelder, Oklahoma State University, and former AP Chemistry Chief Reader. 

Professor John Gelder continues to serve as a Table Leader at the AP Chemistry Reading.  Based on his 20 years experience with the leadership of the AP Chemistry Exam, he will share his in-sights on how teachers could approach content that has proved to be difficult. These topics include:

  • Periodicity and Atomic Structure
  • Bonding and Molecular Structure
  • Reactions
  • Intermolecular Attractive Forces
  • Thermodynamics
  • Gas Phase and Aqueous Equilibrium
  • Chemical Kinetics
  • Electrochemistry

Many of the more difficult problems that have appeared on recent AP Chemistry Exams, along with prevalent student misconceptions, will be discussed.

Teachers will experience learning chemistry via guided-inquiry activities for both classroom and laboratory components of the course. Teachers will use these activities to help acquire a more fundamental understanding of the topics listed above and then build modules incorporating inquiry into their classroom.

In laboratory there will be a mixture of hands-on experiments and particulate level computer-based experiments to further support the topics listed above. During the hands-on portion of the workshop teachers will have access to graphing calculators and probe-ware for data collections and analysis. Chemistry experiments will be selected from the recommended experiments listed in in the CED, and many will utilize an inquiry format. Laboratory experiments/activities will include the following topics: equilibrium, thermodynamics, kinetics and electrochemistry.

Prior to the APSI participating teachers will be asked to access a web site, to provide input into the content that should be discussed, and to complete a number of online activities. These explorations will provide important prior knowledge to help determine the content to be covered in the APSI. The address of the web site will be e-mailed to the participants at least two weeks before the APSI. (Please be sure the e-mail that you provide is one you will check throughout the summer.)

What to Bring?: Goggles, clothing and foot-wear appropriate for working in the laboratory, graphing calculator, portable computer (if you have one, or you have access to a school computer), your AP Chemistry course syllabus, favorite activities that you use in your classroom that you would like to share, favorite website addresses, U-tube video links or other resources that you find useful in your classroom.

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