A few years ago, we launched a weather balloon during our summer science camp. The balloon reached an altitude of 30 km (100,000 ft)! Among other things, this project ended up being a great way to teach campers about the gas laws and how atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude.
Build a propane gun for your students! Construction is inexpensive, easy, and the effects are spectacular.
Chemists Celebrate Earth Day
The April 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available for subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/92/4. This issue features articles on atmospheric and environmental chemistry. Also featured in this issue are: microfluidic devices; problem solving strategies; information literacy; kinetics & thermodynamics; investigations of gases and organic synthesis; outreach.
Conducting experiments with liquid nitrogen experiments is a sure-fire way to energize many chemistry lessons. Unfortunately, getting access to liquid nitrogen can be a bit difficult. I happen to purchase liquid nitrogen from Airgas; you might be able to find a branch near you here.
The “bucket launch” is a fantastic experiment you can do if you have access to liquid nitrogen. Depending upon conditions, we have observed the bucket to launch anywhere from 80 to 160 feet high. See the video.
The nail bottle demonstration is one that many of us have conducted in our classes. To perform this demonstration, 2 – 3 mL of ethanol is placed into a plastic bottle that has two nails punctured into opposite sides of the bottle. After stoppering the bottle, a Tesla coil is touched to one of the nails. A spark jumps from one nail to the other, which initiates the combustion of vaporized ethanol inside the bottle. We recently filmed this reaction with our high speed video camera.
In this Activity, students compare the combustion of different substances such as a glowing wooden toothpick and lit birthday
In this Activity, students explore buoyancy with helium-filled Mylar balloons.
In this Activity, students assemble a Cartesian diver and observe the effects of changing the pressure and temperature.