elementary school science

Chemistry Summer Camp - An Overview

Oh summertime! My non-teacher friends and neighbors like to point out that it must be great having summers off from work. I try to explain that I’m still working although it’s really nice having a break from the students. And I know that a lot of colleagues in my PLN on Twitter are enjoying their break from students too while still spending some time working on upcoming challenges and curriculum designs.

How Does an Orange Peel Pop a Balloon? Chemistry, of Course!

The juice from an orange peel causes a balloon to pop.  When I first saw this effect I immediately thought to myself, “what is the chemistry involved in this experiment?” After quickly searching the web, I found several claims that a compound in orange peels called limonene (Figure 1) is responsible for this effect.  Limonene is a hydrocarbon, which means that molecules of limonene are composed of only carbon and hydrogen atoms.  Limonene is responsible for the wonderful smell of oranges, and it is a liquid at room temperature.

The Intersection of Art and Chemistry

Last year I came across a link on Twitter regarding an art installation by Roger Hiorns in England titled “Seizure.” Some of you may have seen it too – a condemned flat in London was essentially sealed off and filled with more than 75,000 L of supersaturated copper sulfate solution.

A Chemist Celebrates the International Year of Light


Happy New Year!  Did you know that 2015 is the International Year of Light (IYL)? IYL is a “global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health1”.  IYL is sponsored by several organizations with interests in science and science education, including the European Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics.  You can find several lesson plans, videos and other educational resources on the IYL website2. 

NGSS Update #2

Happy December ChemEdX community! On December 2, 2014 I attended the second of three workshops on NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) through our local ISD (in Kalamazoo County it is known as KRESA).