Call for Contributions Fall 2016 - Big Ideas and Making Connections

Chemical Education Xchange (ChemEd X) is interested in learning about the progress teachers have made, experiences that teachers have had, areas that are causing difficulty and more as they transition¬†to using Big Ideas to organize chemistry and other science¬†content.¬†For this reason, we are initiating our first content specific Call for Contributions centered around the concept of ‚ÄúBig Ideas and Making Connections‚ÄĚ.

Balancing Equations with Molecular Models

molecular model kit

I am a very firm believer that the world of physical science can be visualized and is an excellent medium for teaching students to model and to picture what happens at the molecular level. The first topic we decided to explore was balancing chemical equations. This seems like such a simple topic to chemistry teachers but I have found that it can be quite challenging for many of my inner city students. The first thing they ask me for is a list of rules that they can follow. We can discuss the problems of algorithmic teaching in a later post! For the time being let‚Äôs talk about how to get students to understand why they need to balance equations and discuss what we can call ‚ÄúConservation of Atoms‚ÄĚ.

Time required: 

50 minutes

Puddles, Dissolving and a Cool Conductivity Tester...

Conductivity Tester

One of my biggest struggles with students is to try to explain what happens when items, specific inorganic salts, dissolve in water. It might sound simple to me and you. Research shows that students have many real misconceptions when it comes to explaining inorganic salts dissolving in water. My own experience along with other teachers I know is that we are amazed and sometimes frustrated with trying to help students understand the simple process of dissolving, especially with ions. A key piece of equipment is a good conductivity tester. Just got done making a stack of them and can't wait to have students try them. But back to "dissolving"....

JCE 93.07 July 2016 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education July 2016

Exploration of Instrument Design and Performance

The July 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: cost-effective instrumentation, including 3D printed instruments and low-cost spectroscopy; laboratory instrumentation and equipment; effective teaching assistants in chemistry; laboratory experiments; resources for teaching; puzzles and games to introduce the periodic table.