graduate education

Colligative Properties in Real Life

This year in the midwest United States, winter has been a fickle friend. I haven’t seen the same amount of snow or ice as in recent years, but I still made sure I was prepared for it at our home. I went to my local big box hardware store in December and contemplated buying rock salt (NaCl), and NaCl/calcium chloride mixture, or just calcium chloride. Growing up my dad had switched entirely to calcium chloride because it was less damaging to the brick pavers leading to our porch and backyard. In fact, calcium chloride is generally much safer toward plants and soil than NaCl. Even though calcium chloride is much more expensive than rock salt (it was about twice the cost for 10 pounds more), that what’s I chose. Why?

Real World Application: Drain Cleaners - Should I use them?

Common drain cleaners consist of water, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and sodium hydroxide (base) and/or potassium hydroxide (base). Bases are caustic (caustic loosely means to gnaw or eat away at) and can cause corrosion in metal pipes. Wouldn’t you know, our house has PVC piping through the fixtures that dump into a 45 year old cast iron pipe. The cast iron pipe is old and currently shows signs of surface rust and corrosion to the point where the pipe appears to be leaking then sealing itself in several spots. Not to mention the interior of the cast iron pipe may not be completely open, thus, not permitting a fast flow in drainage. Good news: a home warranty is being taken advantage of to hopefully replace the cast iron pipe with a PVC pipe.

 

Teacher as Researcher

n teaching we regularly change our class structures and routines and we implement new “interventions” in hopes of changing classroom dynamics or reaching more students.  I know that most of the time I make these decisions based upon anecdotal evidence, perhaps after glancing at a handful of exit tickets from my students or based upon how I “felt” the class went.  Recently, though, I’m finding myself a little more hesitant when making a claim about my class.  I require that my students support their claims with evidence, so why wouldn’t I also support mine with evidence? 

 

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.

AACT at BCCE

Physics teachers have AAPT, biology teachers have NABT, and starting this fall, chemistry teachers will have AACT. We are happy to announce that the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) will be accepting charter members starting on Aug. 4 at BCCE in Grand Rapids, Mich. But if you aren’t attending BCCE, you can join AACT by visiting teachchemistry.org on Aug. 4, and you’ll still have the status of charter member.

Compound Interest

Have you ever been curious about the chemistry of a lemon? What about the chemical structures of adrenaline, dopamine, or serotonin? Would you like to share with your students the elements that make up their smartphone? Or what how about a beautiful “infographic” representing each of the families of the periodic table? Then Compound Interest at www.compoundchem.com has you covered and then some.

TA Handbook

A valuable resource for helping to train teaching assistants, the TA Handbook is available for download at JCE ChemEd X as premium content for ChemEd X subscribers. It is no longer available in print.