Blogs

Food Dyes as Acid-Base Indicators

Natural food dyes are being sold online and in stores that can be used as acid-base indicators. These dyes open up a host of possibilities for at-home and in-class. For example, these food dyes can be used as indicators in the quantitative titration of the Mg(OH)2 in milk of magnesia.

A Polystyrene Model of Polystyrene Tacticity

Thin sheets of polystyrene can be patterned with permanent markers to represent repeating units of the polymer and then shrunk down in size using heat. The shrunken models of the repeating units can be connected with a string and then flipped into positions to demonstrate different types of polymer tacticity.

Electrons as Waves?

A simple demonstration for high school chemistry students is described which gives a plausible connection between electrons as waves and the shapes of the s and p orbitals. This demonstration may build a transition from electrons as particles to electrons as waves.

Thermal Paper as a Polarity and Acidity Detector

Thermal paper such as that used for point of sale receipts typically functions by darkening when exposed to heat. The pigment system used in this paper also darkens when exposed to solvents of intermediate polarity and acids. This enables thermal paper to be used as an inexpensive sort of indicator paper for a variety of demonstrations.

Using a Gallery Walk inquiry activity to guide students through naming binary ionic compounds with variable charges

While students usually do well with naming binary ionic compounds of fixed charge, many students struggle with naming ionic compounds that contain ions of variable charge. This activity uses a technique often found in humanities classes, a gallery walk, as a guided inquiry experience harnessing real-life applications of several sets of related compounds to address many common misconceptions and lead students to discover the meaning of the Roman numerals when naming and writing formulas for these compounds.