Norwalk (Connecticut) High School teacher Samantha DeMatteo is on a quest to make chemistry less scary, teaching hands-on lessons with real-world applications.

She’s teaching her students about stains and how to most effectively remove them using different cleaning products. DeMatteo distributed T-shirts stained with chocolate, hot sauce and tea and asked students to determine why some cleaning products were more effective than others. It’s a more modern way of studying molecular shape and chemical bonding and helps students “learn with a purpose instead of learning it for the sake of learning it,” she said.

The 25-year-old Penn State graduate is one of six teachers chosen nationwide to participate in creating Next Generation Science Standards lessons with other educators at the University of Colorado Boulder in July.

Succeeding in the competitive selection process means, for one week, DeMatteo will work with Inquiry Hub, a research team of educators from Northwestern, University of Colorado Boulder and Denver Public Schools to develop chemistry units eventually used by teachers across the country.

Click here to read the full story featured in The Hour (March 13, 2019)

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