I was recently drawn to an article published ASAP in JCE entitled Application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics To Explain the Working of Toys. Erick Castellon wrote the article highlighting the use of three toys that are used to help students develop an understanding of the second law of thermodynamics and entropy by having them observe the working of the toys and the energy transfers that occur while playing with them. I already had two of the toys, the radiometer and the drinking bird. I ordered the stirling engine from the link provided in the supporting information. As I waited for the stirling engine to arrive from Japan (which was only a few days) I attempted to write an activity to guide my students to conceptual understanding as they worked with the toys.
In my previous blog post I described some problems I encountered when beginning my instruction on energy this year. From the misconceptions fostered by the biology textbooks using the phrase “high-energy phosphate bond” to idea that energy comes in different forms, the Modeling community recognizes the challenges of teaching the energy concept and has developed a way of talking about energy designed to help students construct a consistent and cohesive model.
This month I spoke with Brian Brethauer who teaches chemistry and coaches Science Olympiad among other science activities on the west side if Michigan. Here are his responses to the 4 questions.
Q1: How do you define inquiry? What does inquiry look like to you?
A student of mine, Anthony Shepherd, and I worked together to develop a new chemical riddle. How do you think we performed the experiment in the video below?
I am honored for the invitation to write for ChemEd X and am looking forward to being part of this collaborative chemistry teaching community! I’m Shelly Belleau, a Chemistry and Physics teacher in Colorado.
Endothermic and exothermic reactions and processes are a common topic in chemistry class. This activity provides examples that can be done with household materials.