Tackling Big Ideas


It was the empty terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach at 9:30 at night that really bothered me as I am wading through the stack of papers that I was grading. I had the students do experiments, worksheets, I lectured and there was homework. Some of the students could “do” what I thought was science. They could calculate the answer. They could balance the equation.

Significant Digits, Pool Tolerances, and Ties in Swimming

nascar & swimming

              With the Olympics just finishing up, I was excited to see the following link posted on twitter entitled: Significant Digits and Pool Tolerances are Why There are So Many Ties in Swimming. You see in my attempt to connect chemistry content to a real world application, I had used a scenario in an old YouTube video I had created

“The Candle Experiment” – an Opening Exercise for General (or introductory) chemistry

candle flame

This exercise is intended as an ice-breaker for a first or second class meeting. It also serves as an introduction to physical & chemical properties and application of the macro/micro/symbolic representations of chemical phenomena. Finally, it also provides a framework to mention many of the topics to be covered in a general chem first semester course.

Solving Mysteries Through Chemistry for National Chemistry Week

Join me, along with co-presenter Rachel Murillo, on Thursday, September 15, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Rachel brings her background in forensic anthropology to the webinar, along with her current work teaching high school forensic science. We’ll share forensics resources useful for National Chemistry Week, for integrating into classroom curriculum, and for informal science sharing. Anyone who wants to connect science to this high-interest, real world topic will find ready-to-use demonstrations, lab investigations, videos, background information, and more.

Equilibrium Lab


Just this week I'm reviewing equilibrium with my IB Chemistry seniors after they finished some summer study on the topic. One of our classes was spent manipulating a classic equilibrium involving copper ions and a copper-chloride complex ion.

Time required: 

Approximately 45-60 minutes is usually enough time to complete all six test tubes, and to answer most of the questions and have some discussion about the results.