JCE 98.02 February 2021 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education February 2021 Cover

Journal of Chemical Education February 2021 Issue 

The February 2021 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: classic demonstrations, teaching during COVID-19, encouraging future scientists, games for teaching organic chemistry, student understanding of bonding, project-based learning, safety, computer-aided instruction, scientific literature, curriculum innovations, examining assessment, material science, research experiences, laboratory experiments, from the archives: teaching with household materials.

Cover: Mercury Beating Heart

The mercury beating heart may be simultaneously the most appealing and least performed demonstration in a chemistry teacher’s toolkit. In this classic chemical demonstration, an oscillating redox reaction induces a rhythmic pattern of inverting polygons in a pool of mercury—reminiscent of a beating heart—and demonstrates redox chemistry that allows for the direct conversion of chemical energy to mechanical energy without involving a machine to accomplish the transfer. The visual effect is mesmerizing and provides a compelling introduction to the rich underlying science; however, the difficulty and time required to initiate and maintain regular oscillations often frustrates instructors and students, discouraging many from presenting this demonstration. In Resuscitating the Mercury Beating Heart: An Improvement on the Classic Demo, Daniel Stribling, Christopher R. Brewer, and Kenneth A. Goldsby describe a simple device for reducing the setup time and increasing the duration of this classic yet underutilized chemical demonstration.

Other demonstrations discussed in this issue include:

The Briggs–Rauscher Reaction: A Demonstration of Sequential Spatiotemporal Patterns ~ Zhuoxuan Li, Ling Yuan, Mengfei Liu, Zhenfang Cheng, Juhua Zheng, Irving R. Epstein, and Qingyu Gao

Intermolecular π–π Stacking Interactions Made Visible ~ Brian Jacobus Jozefus Timmer and Tiddo Jonathan Mooibroek (available open access without a subscription)


In the editorial Should Chemistry Education Be Doing More to Support the Teaching of the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology?, Tom Holme considers the importance of fostering widespread acceptance of vaccines for public health and the potential need for enhanced teaching and learning around the chemistry of molecular biology. (Available open access without a subscription.)

In this issue’s commentary, Jack Barbera, Nicole Naibert, Regis Komperda, and Thomas C. Pentecost encourage Clarity on Cronbach’s Alpha Use (open access without a subscription). 

Teaching during COVID-19

Utilizing Take-Home Examinations in Upper-Level Analytical Lecture Courses in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic ~ Alexander D. Jacobs

Identifying Challenges and Opportunities in Teaching Chemistry Online in India amid COVID-19 ~ Soumen Giri and Paulami Dutta

For additional ideas related to teaching during COVID, see the September 2020 issue, a special issue devoted to “Insights Gained While Teaching Chemistry in the Time of COVID-19”.

Encouraging Future Scientists

Modular Science Kit as a Support Platform for STEM Learning in Primary and Secondary School ~ Renato Rogosic, Benjamin Heidt, Juliette Passariello-Jansen, Saga Björnör, Silvio Bonni, David Dimech, Rocio Arreguin-Campos, Joseph Lowdon, Kathia L. Jiménez Monroy, Manlio Caldara, Kasper Eersels, Bart van Grinsven, Thomas J. Cleij, and Hanne Diliën (available open access without a subscription)

Introducing Students to the Periodic Table Using a Descriptive Approach of Superheroes, Meats, and Fruits and Nuts ~ Gregory S. Watson, David W. Green, and Jolanta A. Watson

A Classroom-Based Activity to Teach Students How to Apply Organic Chemistry Theory to Design Experiments ~ Ravi Singh, Zhonghan Li, Richard Foster, and Nimesh Mistry

The Relevance of Radiochemistry: Perceptions of Future Radiochemists ~ Johannes Pernaa, Gareth T. W. Law, and Sanjeev Ranjan

Review of the Challenges that Face Doctoral Education in Chemistry ~ Jordan Harshman

Games for Teaching Organic Chemistry

CheMakers: Playing a Collaborative Board Game to Understand Organic Chemistry ~ Zilong Zhang, Phillmont Muktar, Christoper Ivan Wijaya Ong, Yulin Lam, and Fun Man Fung

ChemistDice: A Game for Organic Functional Groups ~ Şenol Şen

Student Understanding of Bonding

From Abstract to Manipulatable: The Hybridization Explorer, A Digital Interactive for Studying Orbitals ~ Sarah E. Wegwerth, Jason S. Overby, Christopher J. Douglas, Julia E. Winter, Gianna J. Manchester, and Joseph Engalan

Conformational Tug of War: A Technique for Converting Bond-Line Structures into Fischer Projections ~ Sean C. Butler

Epistemological Profile of Chemical Bonding: Evaluation of Knowledge Construction in High School ~ Maurícius S. Pazinato, Flávia M. Bernardi, Ana Carolina G. Miranda, and Mara Elisa F. Braibante

Using Games to Build and Improve 10th Grade Students’ Understanding of the Concept of Chemical Bonding and the Representation of Molecules ~ Karine Molvinger, Gaëtan Lautier, and Rose-Marie Ayral

Project-Based Learning

Discovering the Chemical Mechanism of Common Heating Agents: A Stepwise Inquiry with Student-Designed Experiments in a High School Laboratory Course ~ Satoki Kodani and Nobuyoshi Koga

Project-Based Learning Experience That Uses Portable Air Sensors to Characterize Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality ~ Jessica C. D’eon, Laura T. Stirchak, Abenen-Shepsu Brown, and Yusra Saifuddin

Scientific Activities for the Engagement of Undergraduate Students in the Separation and Recycling of Waste ~ Miquel Barceló-Oliver, Carlos P. Cabello, Joan Torrens-Serra, Manuel Miró, Catalina Cabot, Rafael Bosch, and Montserrat R. Delgado

Identifying the Unknown Content of an Ancient Egyptian Sealed Alabaster Vase from Kha and Merit’s Tomb Using Multiple Techniques and Multicomponent Sample Analysis in an Interdisciplinary Applied Chemistry Course ~ G. Festa, M. L. Saladino, V. Mollica Nardo, F. Armetta, V. Renda, G. Nasillo, R. Pitonzo, A. Spinella, M. Borla, E. Ferraris, V. Turina, and R. C. Ponterio

Reaction of Diphenyldiazomethane with Benzoic Acids in Batch and Continuous Flow ~ Sihe Zhang, Rui Xu, Hui Zhu, Ryan E. B. Kern, Madison G. Spillman, Evelyn S. Chen, Yaxin Deng, Shamy Shen, Sohyun Kwag, Elizabeth A. Clayton, Mary M. Mendelsohn, Azra N. Ozturk, Amy E. Burnham, Grace M. Erlinger, John P. Pederson, Carol Gelbaum, Charles L. Liotta, and Pamela Pollet

Building a Raspberry Pi Spectrophotometer for Undergraduate Chemistry Classes ~ J. J. Kenneth Chng and Michael Yudistira Patuwo


Determining University Students’ Familiarity and Understanding of Laboratory Safety Knowledge—A Case Study ~ Kechao Wu, Xinglong Jin, and Xiaoyan Wang

For additional ideas related to safety, see the January 2021 issue, a special issue devoted to “Chemical Safety Education: Methods, Culture, and Green Chemistry”.

Computer-Aided Instruction

Development and Evaluation of the H NMR MoleculAR Application ~ Lyniesha Wright and Maria Oliver-Hoyo

A Creative Commons Textbook for Teaching Scientific Computing to Chemistry Students with Python and Jupyter Notebooks ~ Charles J. Weiss

Structure Analysis from Powder Diffraction Data: Rietveld Refinement in Excel ~ John S. O. Evans and Ivana Radosavljevic Evans

Exploring Chemistry with Wireless, PC-Less Portable Virtual Reality Laboratories ~ Tina Qin, Matt Cook, and Matt Courtney

360° Virtual Laboratory Tour with Embedded Skills Videos ~ Stephan M. Levonis, Amanda L. Tauber, and Stephanie S. Schweiker

Teaching Cheminformatics through a Collaborative Intercollegiate Online Chemistry Course (OLCC) ~ Sunghwan Kim, Ehren C. Bucholtz, Kristin Briney, Andrew P. Cornell, Jordi Cuadros, Kristen D. Fulfer, Tanya Gupta, Evan Hepler-Smith, Dean H. Johnston, Andrew S.I.D. Lang, Delmar Larsen, Ye Li, Leah R. McEwen, Layne A. Morsch, Jennifer L. Muzyka, and Robert E. Belford (available open access without a subscription)

Scientific Literature 

Using Scientific Literature to Affect Students’ Identification with the Scientific Discourse Community ~ Daniel A. King, Carie A. King, Daniel G. Hammond, and Patricia L. Stan

Writing Assignments to Support the Learning Goals of a CURE ~ Field M. Watts, Jeffrey L. Spencer, and Ginger V. Shultz

Curriculum Innovations

Equitable and Inclusive Practices Designed to Reduce Equity Gaps in Undergraduate Chemistry Courses ~ Kimberly N. White, Kimberly Vincent-Layton, and Brandilynn Villarreal

Implementing an Iterative and Collaborative Approach to Inclusive First-Semester General Chemistry Laboratory Redesign ~ Kristina R. Stefaniak, Merrie K. Winfrey, Anna C. Curtis, and Sarah A. Kennedy

Simple Approach to Incorporating Experimental Design into a General Chemistry Lab ~ Elijah R. Farley, Victoria Fringer, and Jacob W. Wainman

What Is in a Prerequisite? An Observational Study on the Effect of General Chemistry on Organic Chemistry Performance ~ Benjamin Ragnar Sveinbjornsson

Training OC: A New Course Concept for Training the Application of Basic Concepts in Organic Chemistry ~ Jolanda Hermanns

Developing and Implementing a Specifications Grading System in an Organic Chemistry Laboratory Course ~ William J. Howitz, Kate J. McKnelly, and Renée D. Link

Personalized Distance-Learning Experience through Virtual Oral Examinations in an Undergraduate Biochemistry Course ~ David N. Kamber

Examining Assessment

Dimensions of Variation in Chemistry Instructors’ Approaches to the Evaluation and Grading of Student Responses ~ Michelle Herridge and Vicente Talanquer

Beneath the Surface: An Investigation of General Chemistry Students’ Study Skills to Predict Course Outcomes ~ Emily L. Atieh, Darrin M. York, and Marc N. Muñiz

Development of the Investigation Design, Explanation, and Argument Assessment for General Chemistry I Laboratory ~ Kathryn N. Hosbein, Rosa Alvarez-Bell, Kristine L. Callis-Duehl, Victor Sampson, Steven F. Wolf, and Joi P. Walker

Material Science

Seeded-Growth Experiment Demonstrating Size- and Shape-Dependence on Gold Nanoparticle–Light Interactions ~ Gail A. Vinnacombe-Willson, Naihao Chiang, Paul S. Weiss, Sarah H. Tolbert, and Leonardo Scarabelli

Exploring Divergent Green Reaction Media for the Copolymerization of Biobased Monomers in the Teaching Laboratory ~ Ethan A. Gormong, Michael T. Wentzel, Boen Cao, Laura N. Kundel, Theresa M. Reineke, and Jane E. Wissinger

Research Experiences

CURE Disrupted! Takeaways from a CURE without a Wet-Lab Experience ~ Amie S. Sommers, Andrew W. Miller, Alan D. Gift, Dana L. Richter-Egger, Joshua P. Darr, and Christine E. Cutucache

Development of a Broadly Accessible, Computationally Guided Biochemistry Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience ~ Ashley Vater, Jaime Mayoral, Janelle Nunez-Castilla, Jason W. Labonte, Laura A. Briggs, Jeffrey J. Gray, Irina Makarevitch, Sharif M. Rumjahn, and Justin B. Siegel (available open access without a subscription)

Integrating Natural Product Chemistry Workflows into Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory Training: Building the PRISM Library and Cultivating Independent Research ~ Riley D. Kirk, Marina A. Carro, Christine Wu, Mohamad Jamal Aldine, Alex M. Wharton, Danielle G. Goldstein, Margaret E. Rosario, Gina M. Gallucci, Yiwen Zhao, Elizabeth Leibovitz, and Matthew J. Bertin

Laboratory Experiments

An Experiment to Visualize and Probe the Relationship between Polysaccharide Structure and a Glycemic Index Proxy ~ Xiaoyu Ma and Peter J. Swedlund

Green Fischer Indole Synthesis Using a Steroidal Ketone in a Conductively Heated Sealed-Vessel Reactor for the Advanced Undergraduate Laboratory ~ Pier F. Cirillo, Alexis Caccavale, and Alicia DeLuna

Continuous Flow Science in an Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory: Synthesis of Ethylene Glycol Diacetate Using Heterogeneous Catalysts in Continuous Flow ~ Maolin Sun, Chaoming Liang, Xinyuan Shen, Jianchang Li, Ruihua Cheng, and Jinxing Ye

Some Like It Hot: Experimentally Determining ΔΔH⧧, ΔΔS⧧, and ΔΔG⧧ between Kinetic and Thermodynamic Diels–Alder Pathways Using Microwave-Assisted Synthesis ~ Christian Ieritano, Carlee A. Montgomery, Julie M. Goll, and Ho Yin Chan

T1 Measurement by NMR Inversion Recovery: An Upper-Division Undergraduate Experiment in Advanced NMR Techniques Demonstrating the Concept of Contrast-Enhanced MRI ~ Emily H. Trinh, Anna M. Wolff, and Gregory R. Naumiec

Multiweek Experiments for an Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory Course: Synthesis of Nickel Complexes Supported by a Tetradentate Ligand with a N2O2 Donor Set ~ Joel D. Collett, Jeanette A. Krause, and Hairong Guan

Deriving the Turnover Frequency of Aminoxyl-Catalyzed Alcohol Oxidation by Chronoamperometry: An Introduction to Organic Electrocatalysis ~ Shannon L. Goes, Mikayla N. Mayer, Jordan E. Nutting, Lena E. Hoober-Burkhardt, Shannon S. Stahl, and Mohammad Rafiee

Spectroelectrochemical Experiment for Studying Water Oxidation with a Nickel Oxide Catalyst ~ Diego González-Flores, Gabriela Fernández, and Roberto Urcuyo

Photooxidation of Water with Thin Film Tungsten Oxides ~ Hal Van Ryswyk, Aech Loar, Jacob Kelber, Zooey Meznarich, Jocelyn Sabin, Simone Griffith, and Leah E. Stevenson
Guided-Inquiry Experiment for Teaching the Calibration Method of Standard Addition in the Analysis of Lead with Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy ~ Jacob White, Kimberly Costilow, Jacob Dotson, Robert Mauldin, Mattie Schanandore, and Denise Shockley

Analysis of Natural Materials’ Adsorption Efficiency Relating Co(II) Using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy: Laboratory Experiment ~ Mária Porubská, Klaudia Jomová, and Jana Braniša

Determining Ash Content and Trace Metal Concentration in Crude Oil Samples to Teach Students Sample Preparation and Instrumental Analysis ~ Chikaodili E. Chukwuneke, Joshua O. Madu, and Bolade O. Agboola

Investigating Flocculation Capacities of Different Cations and Their Implications for Soil Structure and Sustainability ~ M. Conde-Cid, D. Fernández-Calviño, and M. Arias-Estévez

Teaching Graduate Students GC-QTOF-MS Operation and Application via an Analytical Chemistry Experiment ~ Hui Wang, Zheyu Li, Jie Ding, and Nanqi Ren

From the Archives: Teaching with Household Materials

This issue includes an article on Discovering the Chemical Mechanism of Common Heating Agents: A Stepwise Inquiry with Student-Designed Experiments in a High School Laboratory Course by Satoki Kodani and Nobuyoshi Koga. Articles from the laboratory of Nobuyoshi Koga often use household materials to explore chemistry. Additional articles in past issues of JCE from this lab include:

Reactivity of Household Oxygen Bleaches: A Stepwise Laboratory Exercise in High School Chemistry Course ~ Masayoshi Nakano, Haruka Ogasawara, Takeshi Wada, and Nobuyoshi Koga (available open access without a subscription)

Stepwise Inquiry into Hard Water in a High School Chemistry Laboratory ~ Mami Kakisako, Kazuyuki Nishikawa, Masayoshi Nakano, Kana S. Harada, Tomoyuki Tatsuoka, and Nobuyoshi Koga (available open access without a subscription)

Stepwise Approach to Hess’s Law Using Household Desiccants: A Laboratory Learning Program for High School Chemistry Courses ~ Satoki Kodani, Masahiro Fukuda, Yoji Tsuboi, and Nobuyoshi Koga

Laboratory Inquiry for Determining the Chemical Composition of a Component in a Daily Use Detergent: Sodium Sesquicarbonate ~ Nobuyoshi Koga, Tomoyasu Kimura, and Kana Shigedomi

Chemical Composition of Sodium Percarbonate: An Inquiry-Based Laboratory Exercise ~ Takeshi Wada and Nobuyoshi Koga

Neutralization and Acid Dissociation of Hydrogen Carbonate Ion: A Thermochemical Approach ~ Nobuyoshi Koga, Kana Shigedomi, Tomoyasu Kimura, Tomoyuki Tatsuoka, and Saki Mishima

Energy Diagram for the Catalytic Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide ~ Tomoyuki Tatsuoka and Nobuyoshi Koga

Model Experiment of Thermal Runaway Reactions Using the Aluminum–Hydrochloric Acid Reaction ~ Suguru Kitabayashi, Masayoshi Nakano, Kazuyuki Nishikawa, and Nobuyoshi Koga (available open access without a subscription)

Using a Laboratory Inquiry with High School Students To Determine the Reaction Stoichiometry of Neutralization by a Thermochemical Approach ~ Tomoyuki Tatsuoka, Kana Shigedomi, and Nobuyoshi Koga (available open access without a subscription)

A Simple Oxygen Detector Using Zinc–Air Battery ~ Yoong Kin Hooi, Masayoshi Nakano, and Nobuyoshi Koga

Readers Are at the Heart of JCE

Even in these times of disruption, there are always ideas for teaching and learning chemistry available in the Journal of Chemical Education—including the February 2021 issue described above. Articles that are edited and published online ahead of print (ASAP—As Soon As Publishable) are also available. (For more information on how to access the  articles cited above, see Deanna Cullen’s post on Accessing Cited Articles.)

Do you have something to share? Write it up for the Journal! In particular, consider submitting to the special issue of JCE on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect in Chemistry Education Research and Practice (deadline is April 12, 2021).

Erica Jacobsen’s Commentary continues to provide excellent advice about becoming an author. In addition, numerous author resources are available on JCE’s ACS website, including the revised Author Guidelines and Document Templates. The ACS Publishing Center also has resources for preparing and reviewing manuscripts for ACS journals.