CSET Professional Learning

Chemistry Experiences and Experiments for Learning

Content Deepening Courses

Teachers work with a set of chemistry experiences and experiments that can foster student learning and expand high-leverage, core teaching practices in chemistry. These chemistry experiences have been designed and vetted by the Stanford University Department of Chemistry in conjunction with high school chemistry teachers and science educators. The experiences will provide opportunities for participants to make strong connections with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards. Chemistry content and teaching practices will be tightly integrated around key chemical phenomena and concepts.

Participants will develop a plan for their own classrooms that use these experiences, experiments, and core teaching practices to address the science learning goals in the NGSS and Common Core State Standards.  In the summer, teachers will design an instructional sequence to implement early in the school year in their classroom.  During school year follow-ups, teachers will analyze artifacts from their implementation in order to reflect on student learning and inform future instruction.  In addition to discussing past implementation, follow-up days will address new topics such as assessment and equitable teaching strategies and will provide structured opportunities for collaboration and planning. 

Course Facilitators:

Gary Benz, MA has been a high school teacher for over ten years.  Gary received his B.A. degree in Chemistry and his M.A. degree in Chemistry Education at Oregon State University.  He has taken graduate level coursework at U.C. Riverside in Science Curriculum Development and Individualized Assessment. After working in research for several years, Gary applied his deep content knowledge and experience to his classroom by using grant awards to integrate organic chemistry and biotechnology concepts into the general chemistry coursework.  Projects developed include the periodic table alive, gallium as a mercury substitute, solar cell and fuel cell technology.  He has also been integral in developing biotechnology, biochemistry and organic research programs at American High School with the assistance of Ohlone Community College.  Gary became involved in the ChemEX

2 program through the Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education (IISME) Summer Fellowship as one of the original high school teachers to collaborate with the Stanford Chemistry Department on the creation of hands on guided inquiry activities rooted in interesting chemical phenomena.



Katrina Rotter, BS has been teaching high school chemistry for over 10 years. She holds a BS in Chemistry and Zoology from the University of Washington and earned her credential at UC Berkeley.  Katrina currently teaches at Lowell High School  in San Francisco and is an Exploratorium Mentor.  She is also part of the MfA program at UC Berkeley and a Trellis Fellow, mentoring pre-service and beginning teachers.  Katrina was introduced to ChemEx2 in 2013 when she attended with a colleague, and was so enthusiastic she kept coming back.  Now she has joined ChemEx2 as a teacher educator.



Sally Seebode, MA is a chemistry teacher at San Mateo High School. She completed her undergraduate work in chemistry at Willamette University and earned her graduate degree in science education from Stanford University in Education. Her 25 year teaching career emphasizes creating a questioning and thoughtful community, with confident, life long learners, and leaders. Her expertise in inquiry, research projects, addressing the needs of a wide range of students, developing academic language for all, and coaching make her an outstanding addition to the ChemEx2 team. In addition to being a teacher leader during the summer, this year she will work with participating teachers through out the school year supporting their implementation of ChemEx2 ideas and principles.



Kevin Doyle, M.Sc. has been teaching high school sciences for over 15 years, including 2 years in Malawi with the Peace Corps.  He holds a B.Sc in Applied Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and terminal M.Sc. in Materials Science from UC Santa Barbara where he did research on the thermodynamics of sintering in ceramic systems.  After leaving academia, he joined the Peace Corps where he learned the importance of using familiar local materials to teach chemistry concepts.  Kevin comes to ChemEx2 from several different perspectives.  In 2009 and 2010, Kevin worked with Chris Chidsey, Jennifer Schwartz and Gary Benz in developing guided inquiry style labs for Stanford’s Chem 31 course and the Outreach Program.  Some of these activities eventually were adapted for use in ChemEx2.  In 2012, Kevin and his two colleagues at Aragon High School attended the first ChemEx2 as participants, where they found enough of interest in the philosophy of ChemEx2 to attempt to rework their curriculum at Aragon to reflect this philosophy.



Ben Lowell, MA teaches chemistry and AP environmental science at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, where he is also the science department lead. He completed his undergraduate work in biochemistry at Brown University and earned his graduate degree from the Stanford Teacher Education Program. He has been teaching at Fremont since graduating from STEP, where he has worked on developing curriculum that engages students in the practices of science as well as supporting the transition of his entire department towards the Next Generation Science Standards. He first participated in ChemEX^2 during the summer of 2014 and returned as part of the teacher leader team in the summer of 2016.

Date and time



Stanford University