The Poisoner’s Handbook

American Experience: Poisoner's Handbook

In the June 6th, 2016 Chemical and Engineering News magazine put out by the American Chemical Society, C&EN talks with Deborah Blum, journalist and author: From the article’s description, ‘The Poisoner’s Handbook’ writer talks about the beauty of chemistry and why she wants people to know more about it.

Using Chemical Mysteries (in the IB) Chemistry Classroom

Inspired by Tom Kuntzleman*, I started using mysteries in my chemistry curriculum this past year. The first mystery I shared with my students was burning water. While my magician skills aren't perfect, I was able to get the students asking questions and proposing hypotheses. For my IB students, it really allowed me to delve into a number of topics (e.g. combustion, intermolecular forces, polarity, density). And thus an idea was born: Using one mystery per topic. In this blog post I'll discuss my beginning effort to find or develop a mystery for each topic within the IB Chemistry curriculum.

AP Chemistry Post-Exam Activity: Coordination Compounds & Complex Ions

coordination compounds and complex ions

I published an article about an independent study unit I use with my AP Chemistry class two years ago, A guided group inquiry lesson on coordination compounds and complex ions. In the time since it was published, I have expanded the unit quite a bit and written some new assignments to go along with it. I use this unit every year as a post AP activity and am very fond of it. I thought some of my readers might enjoy seeing how it has changed and get access to the new assignments I have developed for it.

Summer Solstice Update on the Students' Progress through Our First Summer Assignment

On June 20, 2016 at 6:34 P.M. E.S.T., our sun achieves the most northern point in its journey and stops. The summer solstice marks the moment when the sun stands still; a Latin derivative from the words sol, meaning ”sun”, and sistere, meaning “to come to a stop.” Imagine the wonder and curiosity associated with such a phenomenon in the ancient world!

Concept Mapping in Chemistry

It's been a few days since my summer break began. I have had a few days to decompress, relax, and think about my next post. I have been planning to write about concept mapping since the end of our first semester. I first recognized the effects of concept mapping in the classroom when I read Shannon Bowen's blog post last December.

The Big Picture- My First Year Chemistry Scope and Sequence

Guiding principles in my scope and sequence: Start with a simple representations of the nanoscopic and dig deep. Hopefully, by the time we start with vital, albeit often more challenging symbolic representations (mole, stoichiometry, solutions), students have a decent foundation to build upon.

How do you teach resonance?

During our review since last week, resonance was labeled as one of the most tricky concepts (along with electron pushing in my opinion), despite lots of practice and instruction. My teaching sequence consists of defining and providing examples of conjugation (after learning about hybridization), delocalized electrons, and finally pushing electrons if conjugation exists. I remember from teaching at the college level that resonance was also a tricky topic for many undergraduates.