Blogs

Material Science, Percent Comp and Copper

Soda Can in Copper(II)Chloride

Years ago, I took some wonderful material science workshops sponsored by ASM International(link is external). They did an amazing job of helping me add some more tools to my teaching tool kit. Materials are all around us and the workshop was a week long adventure into either creating a material science course or tying material science into existing curriculum. The chemistry of materials can easily be introduced into any curriculum.  

Correcting Science

What we call misconceptions

Science is cool. It allows us to step back and reason why things are the way they are.  Most importantly it fuels us to keep questioning why. Asking why is an important aspect of learning, and is a huge part of the way classrooms run, on average a teacher will ask 300-400 questions just in a day (Vogler 2008)! However, what happens when a student does not have the correct answer to a question? Are they deemed wrong? Is it a misconception that we must fix?

An Interesting Way to look at Reactions....

Reactions chart from Atomsmith

Atomsmith works really well on Chromebooks and other platforms. Students can manipulate molecules, add water, do experiments, heat solutions and examine intermolecular forces all on the particulate level. Another nice feature is the "Experiment" section. There are a number of guided activities, usually never more than a page or two. I have found them to be great supplements for activities, experiments and demonstrations.

Developing a Cooking Chemistry Elective

wood shop made cheese press

To squash any misconceptions, I would like to say first and foremost I am not a great cook. My husband graciously does most of the cooking in our house. However, as a chemist, I am fascinated by the complex reactions involved in everyday life. Pair this curiosity with the requirement to teach an elective, and the Chemistry of Cooking elective was born.

Hydrate Labs, Microscale Chemistry and Cage Fighting....

Bottle cap set up for hydrates

For years my students would heat the hydrates in glassware, burn themselves, break the glassware and splatter salts and thus their data, all over the lab bench. A few years ago Bob Worley came up with a great microscale technique. Essentially, it takes a used bottle cap without the plastic and this is used as the dish. Next, there is about a three inch machine screw that goes through a drilled hole in the cap. A nut is placed on the screw to hold everything in place and cheap pliers are used to hold the entire assembly over the flame.