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Episode 05 – Erica Posthuma – “Students learn better from teachers who care”

In this conversation with Erica Posthuma, we hear about her experience of going through her first modeling workshop and the “aha” moments that she experienced. Erica talks about how modeling instruction makes chemistry accessible to even students who do not perceive themselves as strong math students. She talks about how modeling instruction units align well with the big goals of NGSS. Finally, Erica also talks about the importance of community and support when teaching using modeling instruction. 

Guest Bio

Erica Posthuma has been a science educator since 2001, teaching in both public and private school settings. She attended her first modeling instruction workshop after ten years of teaching, and it completely changed her way of teaching. Erica serves on the board of AMTA and is very active on social media, supporting and sharing ideas with others from all over. Erica is also an associate editor for the Journal of Chemical Education’s ChemEdXchange.


[5:03] Erica Posthuma: it was through that discussion that I started to realize I actually had agency over my own understanding and my learning and I didn’t need to turn to someone who I felt was more of an expert or more knowledgeable. I didn’t need that because if I could reason through my answer and I could provide evidence and I could discuss it with other teachers or with other colleagues, peers, students, and they could question me on it and I could defend it… I didn’t need a book anymore.

[23:53] Erica Posthuma: at my school, we have started to look at taking the standards outlined through NGSS and seeing how we already align with them and looking for opportunities to incorporate better alignment. …Like students can formulate, refine, evaluate, testable questions. Students can synthesize and develop models. Students can analyze and interpret data. Students can construct explanations based on evidence. Like these are things that are tenants of modeling. They are ingrained in the curriculum in every unit throughout the entire year.

[40:36] Erica Posthuma: Being a member of AMTA, the biggest benefit that I have received is the community that I have become a part of is that collaboration. It’s the way they challenged me to think about things. They pushed me to be a better teacher and we also have a lot of fun together.


Twitter Accounts

AMTA: @AMTATeachers

Erica Posthuma: @eposthuma

Hashtag: #chemmod


AMTA website


ACS Hach Grants (Listed under “Education Grants” at the bottom of the page) – Mentioned at 32:38


Erica Posthuma – Transcription

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