One of my favorite things to talk about with my colleagues is the use of lecture demonstrations in teaching. There seems to be a push in my district to stop using chemicals whenever possible and get to computer simulations and video in place of wet chemistry. I don’t think they are thrilled with me since I can’t envision ever taking the chemistry out of chemistry.
The chemistry of silver and the process in which silver becomes tarnished is explored. Take a new look at an old JCE Classroom Activity.
In my IB Chemistry class, my seniors were finishing up independent investigations for their Internal Assessment a few weeks ago when something cool happened. One of my students was using silver nitrate and potassium chromate for a titration. This is notable to the story here because the endpoint is marked by the formation of silver chromate as a precipitate, with a deep reddish color. I overhead the student showing his reaction to another student, with both of them commenting on the cool colors involved.
A description of a quick and easy lesson that is sure to add some spark into your next lesson on stoichiometry.
You can perform an orange to black chemistry demonstration using materials commonly found in stores. The reaction appears to be similar to the Old Nassau reaction, but uses greener reagents. This is a great demonstration to do around Halloween time.
Modeling InstructionTM is specifically designed so students construct meaning without being told what to think and I needed videos that aligned with this philosophy. That’s when I ran across this TedEd talk with Dr. Derek Muller.
At Chem Ed 2015, a teacher from Texas showed me this quick and dirty way to do a distillation that the kids can do. I forgot her name. "Lady from Texas", let me just say "thank you". If you are reading this, please shoot me an email and I will be more than happy to give you credit. It worked really well.
Most chemical educators will agree that exciting demonstrations are excellent motivators to create interest in science. They are also a way to create interest in the community, motivate the student-demonstrators, and perhaps to make a little money to support special activities of an ACS Chem Club. Chemical demonstration shows, organized around holidays or other special occasions have a long and honored history. Pacifica High School (Garden Grove, CA) took its inspiration from the lecture-demonstrations of Michael Faraday, given during the Christmas holidays of 1860-61. (The Chemical History of A Candle).
Build a propane gun for your students! Construction is inexpensive, easy, and the effects are spectacular.