The May 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: electrochemistry and corrosion; textbooks; research on the chemistry teacher pipeline, argument-driven inquiry, and online homework; using everyday objects to teach; teaching organic chemistry with games; communication and writing; examining and creating innovative curriculum; computer-aided discovery activities; exploring kinetics; interdisciplinary laboratory investigations; from the archives: applications of 3D printing for teaching chemistry.
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.
In this Activity, students compare polystrene and cornstarch packing materials ("peanuts"). Both are made of polymers, but because of their composition, they behave very differently in various solvents. Students extrapolate how these differences in behavior relate to environmental effects, such as filling landfills with non-biodegradable materials.
In this Activity, students extract sodium zeolite A from powdered laundry detergent and examine its properties. The Activity helps students to apply their chemical knowledge to the realm of consumer products. It could be used as a lead-in for a discussion of environmental issues and water chemistry.