An Unexpected Source of Inquiry-Based Lab Practicals


Each spring my Local Section of The American Chemical Society (ACS) hosts a rigorous two part exam as part of the selection process for the The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)  IChO is an annual international competition for the world’s top chemistry students. Each year, nations from all over the world will send teams of four to compete for top honors.

Time required: 

45 minutes

JCE 92.09—September 2015 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education September 2015 Cover

Effective Student Engagement

The September 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. This issue includes articles on flipped classroom; introductory and general chemistry; organic chemistry activities; biochemistry demonstrations and labs; computer-based learning; chemical education research; from the archive: chemistry in context.

Density "POGIL-Like" Activity

Although many students have been exposed to the concept of density before reaching my Chemistry class, I always start the year with this POGIL-like activity.

Time required: 

Approximately one hour including the debrief (I recommend holding a whole-class discussion for the summarizing questions that follow the What is density? activity and a selection of mathematical computation problems from the How can you calculate density? activity.)

Rainbows in a Glass Density Demonstration

One day during class I presented the disappearing rainbow demonstration and explained the chemistry behind it. After doing so, I had a student ask me if a particular bartending trick called “rainbow shots” was done in a manner similar to the way the disappearing rainbow demonstration is performed.

Ice Bomb

A cast iron bomb is completely filled with ice water, then placed into a dry-ice/acetone slush and covered with a wooden box. When the water in the bomb freezes, the cast iron bomb explodes, breaking into several pieces, and destroying the box in which it was placed.