Changing the Landscape of Chemical Education The December 2013 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/90/12. This issue of JCE plus the content of all past issues, volumes 1 through 90, are available to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/jchemeduc.
In this Activity, students construct a simple battery from aluminum foil, saltwater, and activated charcoal. The battery can power a small motor or light. This Activity demonstrates oxidation and reduction reactions, which are integral parts of battery chemistry.
In this Activity, students investigate static electricity. They observe that charged objects attract a narrow stream of water, and find that charged combs and glass rods have opposite charges. This Activity could be used to introduce the notion of positive and negative electric charge. It is appropriate when studying atomic theory, and when introducing electrochemistry.
In this Activity, students remove tarnish from silver using the reaction of tarnish with aluminum. If only untarnished silver items are available, students first tarnish them using items that contain sulfur. This Activity could be used with topics such as chemical changes, metals, electrochemistry, and redox reactions. The Activity could introduce a discussion of silver and its reactions.
In this Activity, students determine the concentration (percent volume) of oxygen in air. They place small quantities of fine steel wool into a test tube that is then inverted in a beaker of water. Oxygen in the trapped air reacts with the iron to form rust. The Activity ties in well with atmospheric chemistry.
Looking for an easy, hands-on experiment to use in your classroom at the beginning of the school year? In the June, 2013 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education, Isao Ikemoto and Kouichi Saitou describe a simple experiment to demonstrate the electrolytic dissolution of copper ions from a copper electrode. This experiment can be conducted using only items that are easily obtained around the home or in grocery stores.
Students proceed through a prior knowledge activity, practice creating and using a voltaic cell and use of a model designed to simulate the particulate level activity within a voltaic cell. The teacher checks for student understanding at specific points as groups work together. A discussion follows to help clarify ideas.
About one 60 minute class period for lab and manipulative procedure.
Electrolysis of an aluminum nitrate solution produces oxygen at the anode and hydrogen at the cathode.
Electrolysis of a potassium nitrate solution produces oxygen at the anode and hydrogen at the cathode.