Ionic Covalent Compounds and Card Sorts

Ionic Covalent Card sort

Card sorts are a great way to achieve a number of classroom objectives.  They can be used as a review activity or they can be done during the middle of a lesson as a type of formative assessment. Sorts can encourage students to work with other students or can even be used as a type of exit ticket. I decided to use the strategy about two thirds of the way through a unit on covalent and ionic compounds and lewis structures. I knew there were items we did not cover in the sort but I was curious to see how they would approach these unknown topics.  

Creating an Organic Chemistry Reaction Pathways Flowchart as a Unit Summary

Student generated reaction pathways flowchart

For a recent unit on organic chemistry for my IB students, I tried something new. I gave them a handout with a list of organic compounds (by class/functional group) and a list of mechanisms and reaction types. Their task (in small groups), using either butcher paper or a large whiteboard, was to create a flow chart of reaction pathways.

Time required: 

30-45 minutes

ChemEd 2017

ChemEd 2017 logo

CHEM Ed 2017 will be in Brookings, South Dakota on the campus of South Dakota State University from July 23 through 27. Currently the conference program directors are accepting abstract submissions through February 28th.   

Chemical Connections to Climate Change

carbon dioxide absorbing IR light

It is becoming increasingly important for citizens to understand various concepts related to climate change and global warming. This post describes several chemical concepts that are pertinent to these issues, in the hopes that teachers of science and chemistry can introduce the topic of climate change into their classrooms and everyday discussions.

The Case of the Barking Dog

hydrogen test

To grasp the concept of oxidation and reduction reactions, I have my high school students write half reactions to show the loss and gain of electrons by the substances being oxidized and reduced. To help with this concept, I developed a quick lab activity involving the reaction between magnesium metal and dilute hydrochloric acid, which in turn led to the students collecting the hydrogen gas and then testing for its presence.

Time required: 

50 minutes

Mid-Year Reflections

concept map

It’s the end of one semester and the beginning of another. Final exam week. For the first time in my teaching career, I had my grades caught up and posted prior to the beginning of final exams. This gave me time to reflect and plan ahead.

Investigating the Effect of Concentration on Reaction Time

Concentration vs Rate of Reaction

Whether you are introducing collision theory or something more demanding like reaction order, the reaction between sodium thiosulfate—Na2S2O3 and hydrochloric acid can provide a consistent, accurate, and engaging opportunity for investigating these topics.