My top 5 reasons for using Green Chemistry in my classroom along with a few examples of replacement labs that follow Green Chemistry principles.
For dynamic equilibrium, I like to use a physical analogy that pits students against each other in a classroom-wide “snowball” fight. Not only is this activity great for building students’ conceptualization of dynamic equilibrium, it is also really fun!
The solution to "Chemical Mystery #16: A Red, White, and Blue Chemistry Trick for You!" is presented. How this experiment can be used as a springboard to carry out a simple quantitative analysis of salt solubility is also discussed.
A favorite demonstration is to boil water by lowering the pressure in a bell jar using a vacuum pump. Unfortunately, purchasing a bell jar, vacuum plate, and vacuum pump can run upwards of $1,000 which poses a hardship for many teachers. Here are two simple and inexpensive demonstrations of phase equilibrium and vapor pressure.
I was drawn to an article by Eilks, Gulacar, and Sandoval about Acid-Base Chemistry and Chemical Equilibrium in the April 2018 issue of JCE. The title of the article is "Exploring the Mysterious Substances, X and Y: Challenging Students' Thinking on Acid-Base Chemistry and Chemical Equilibrium." The premise of the article is to demonstrate how an instructor may use a group of compounds (zeolites) to "elaborate on the behavior of solid state acids and bases" while revisiting LeChatelier's principle.
One of my goals for 2017 was to read more chemistry non-fiction. I accomplished that with three and a half books read. That doesn't seem like much, but given how busy I've been lately it was quite an accomplishment! I offer a brief review of my most recent book here, "The Alchemy of Air" by Thomas Hager.
Is it time for us as chemistry teachers to move beyond the Le Châtelier Principle as justification for why disturbances to equilibrium systems cause particular “shifts”? The author shares his new approach to teach equilibrium and provide his students with a more rigorous understanding of the concept.
Erica Jacobsen shares highlights from the August 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education that are of special interest to high school chemistry teachers.
A classroom activity to demonstrate the principles of chemical kinetics and equilibria and the utility of the mole concept is described here. The activity involved no hazardous materials or complex equipment and can be enjoyed and appreciated by general studies students as well as chemistry majors.
As part of a two-week Chemistry Modeling Workshop™ in Houston, TX, I had the opportunity to read the Journal of Chemical Education article “When Atoms Want” by Vicente Talanquer of the University of Arizona. I researched Dr. Talanquer and discovered he created a collection of simulations called Chemical Thinking Interactives (CTI). These digital tools illustrate many chemistry topics with a focus on the particulate nature of matter.