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Exploring the Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment

Diet Coke and Mentos eruption

I think this experiment provides a fantastic vehicle to involve students of all ages in small, hands-on and exploratory research projects. Like many others, my students and I have investigated various aspects of this interesting fountain.

Chemistry in a Bottle

density bottles

Are you familiar with the dynamic density bottle experiment? This interesting experiment was invented by Lynn Higgins, and is sold by various science supply companies. Two immiscible liquids (usually salt water and isopropyl alcohol) and two different types of plastic pieces are contained within a dynamic density bottle. The plastic pieces display curious floating and sinking behavior when the bottle is shaken. You can find out even more about how a colleague and I have explored the experiment by attending our session within the ChemEd X Conference: Chemistry Education for the Next Generation.

What to do after AP? Build and test simple dye-sensitized solar cells!

solar cell with clips

Have you considered having your students make solar cells? If your AP kids can understand batteries, solar cells are a logical next step. I usually do independent projects after AP along with final presentations, but I stumbled upon this activity the other day and my mind exploded in excitement and thought I would share. In the future, I would definitely do this with my students!

You Are Invited: Chemistry Instruction for the Next Generation

Chemistry Instruction for the Next Generation graphic

ChemEd X and the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE) are collaborating to offer a virtual conference like most have never seen before. It is not a webinar. You do not have to schedule specific hours to view a live presentation. I think of it as similar to a virtual book/journal club with the added benefit of having the author leading it. In this case, authors were selected from among those who have published recent articles, activities and research in JCE on the topic of student-centered instruction in chemistry. The theme of this inaugural conference is Chemistry Instruction for the Next Generation.

Shorten Grading Time with this Stoichiometry Tool

Image of a chemistry themed clock

As many chemistry teachers know, grading lab reports can be a very time-consuming task. For me, the lab report that has required the most time to grade is a stoichiometry lab that I have been doing the past couple years. Though we do at least four “formal” lab reports each year, what makes this one different is that it involves a lot more calculations and subsequent results than any of our other labs. Regardless of how well they organized their report or wrote their conclusions, their results need to be checked for accuracy. This takes time. Even after eventually being able to generally eyeball their work, it still takes more time than I would like. So, this year I finally decided to sit down and generate a tool for me to expedite this process—the stoichiometry calculator.

JCE 94.04 April 2017 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education April 2017 Cover

Resources To Inform Teaching and Learning

The April 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: green chemistry; environmental chemistry; using food chemistry to teach; 2016 Jame Bryant Award; development of important skills; chemical education research: assessment; advanced laboratories; from the archives: water quality.

Tracing the Steps to the Conant Award

Laura Slocum's award certificate

The James Bryant Conant Award was established in 1965 and has had several sponsors. The award is intended to recognize, encourage, and inspire outstanding teachers of high school chemistry. It is fitting that the Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd X have established an endowment that will permanently fund the award. I think it is even more fitting that the 2017 Awardee, Laura Slocum, has a history with JCE as a precollege assistant editor from 2007 – 2011.

Investigations of Chemicals in Natural Food Coloring. Part 3: Sunflower

Fluorescence of sunflower dye

The chemistry of the Sunflower dye found in McCormick’s Color from Nature food dyes is explored in this post. This is the last in a three-part series in which several experiments and demonstrations that can be done with Color from Nature food dyes are described.

Earth Day 2017 - Chemistry Feeds Our World


The American Chemical Society will celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2017. This year's theme is Chemistry Feeds Our World. I have gathered some resources related to food and cooking from ChemEd X in honor of the theme. I have also included links to other resources.

Nominate Outstanding High School Chemistry Teachers

ACS Regional Award for HS Teaching

In 2006, The Division of Chemical Education endowed an award program, the Regional Award for Excellence in High School Teaching, to recognize and inspire outstanding high school chemistry teachers. Each of the ten Regions of the American Chemical Society solicits nominations for this award. The winners receive $1000, an engraved plaque and travel expenses to the meeting where they are honored.