Melissa Hemling's blog

First Day Chemistry Engineering Activity

I just finished my first week of school, like many teachers in the Midwest. I work hard to get my Honors Chemistry students in a lab setting as soon as possible. It is difficult to find a perfect lab to do on the first or second day of school. In my mind, the ideal first chemistry lab would require no prior chemistry knowledge, involve interesting chemistry, address an NGSS standard, be relatively safe, not require expensive glassware or lab tools, and reinforce positive class norms. I have found engineering labs fit the bill! I don't know if I have found the "perfect" lab, but I have found something close I want to share!

AP Classroom: Leveraging the PPCs

It is back-to-school time! I started school on September 3rd so I am just getting back into my school “groove.”  On August 1st, College Board released its new AP Classroom platform ( While exploring this new online resource, I couldn’t help but reflect on how I teach AP Chemistry and what changes I will make in light of AP Classroom to ensure this year will be a great one!

How I Fell in Love with PES

Like many AP Chemistry teachers, I was not fond of teaching Photoelectron Spectroscopy (PES). Surprisingly, I fell in love with teaching PES in AP Chemistry this year after I made an old-school change.

Using Visual BCA Tables to Teach Limiting Reactants

A few months ago I was searching the internet, looking for a better way to teach stoichiometry to my pre-AP chemistry students. While my methods of dimensional analysis “got the job done” for most students, I would still always lose students and many lacked true understanding of what was happening in the reaction. I wanted to try something new that would promote a better chemical understanding. In my search for this elusive stoichiometry method, I came across Dena Leggett’s ChemEd X blog post entitled “Doc Save Everyone”, as well as other posts about BCA tables from Lauren Stewart, Lowell Thomson, and Larry Dukerich.