Welcome to the Chemical Education Xchange (ChemEd X)! We hope to strengthen the community of chemistry educators by providing learning resources and forums for discussion and collaboration right here at this site. Take a look, and join in.
Whenever a serious incident takes place in a school chemistry laboratory or classroom, fire and safety officers often pontificate on the incident by quoting the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). However, how many of you have read such documents in full? In UK schools we have perhaps 200 to 400 chemicals on the shelves. Have you read the MSDSs for each chemical?
TV and movie screens today offer us a desperate fight against crazy-fast zombies, a peek into celebrities’ lives where truth is often stranger than fiction, million-dollar game shows, and more. Can portraits of science compete?
In a recent contribution to ChemEd X "Stoichiometry is Easy", the author states that he has "vacillated over the years between using an algorithmic method, and an inquiry-based approach to teaching stoichiometry. " I would like to suggest that there is another approach to mastering stoichiometry and that it should precede the algorithmic one: it is the conceptual approach based on a particle model to represent the species involved in chemical reactions.
This article describes a three week lesson plan for teaching stoichiometry using an algorithmic method. Two labs (one designed as a laboratory quiz) several cooperative learning exercises, student worksheets and guided instructional frameworks (forcing students to develop good habits in writing measures and doing problem solving) are included. The highlight of the lessons is the "chemistry carol" (based on Felix Mendelssohn's music for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") in which students recite a five-step algorithm for completing stoichiometry problems. While algorithmic processes may not always be best, I have found that there are many benefits to giving students a firm background and something to always fall back upon in one of the more challenging topics of chemistry. I believe that the good habits developed in this method of stoichiometry carry through to all the rest of their chemistry work, making it much easier to use inquiry-based methods when doing other advanced chemistry topics.
When liquid nitrogen is placed in a sealed container, the pressure of the container increases until the container explodes. The energy released in the explosion can be used to launch a bucket high into the air. Analyzing the experiment using the ideal gas law gives results that are inconsistent with observations. Use of the van der Waals equation yields reasonable results.
Engaging and Sustaining Students' Interest in Chemistry
The November 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/11. The November issue content includes content on water chemistry, diversity and women in science, professional development, teaching with technology, electrochemistry, and more.
Last Thursday (11/6/14) I attended a workshop on NGSS through our local RESA (essentially an ISD for the county/region). I’d like to touch on some of the things I took away from this workshop and will post again after the next follow-up workshops in December and March.