I recently watched a video in which a chemist (who goes by the nickname “NurdRage”) activated a chemiluminescent reaction by vapor deposition. I wanted to try it out for myself! Unfortunately, oxalyl chloride is toxic, corrosive, and a lachrymator. Thus, the experiment conducted by NurdRage needs to be conducted in a hood, and it is not particularly amenable to simple presentations. I began to wonder how I could create this vapor activated chemiluminescence using simple materials.
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.
Engaging Participation and Promoting Active Learning
The June 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: materials science and nanotechnology laboratories, promoting active learning, catalysis and kinetics, blue bottle reaction, cost-effective instrumentation, resources for teaching, from the archive: anchoring concept content maps.
I think this experiment provides a fantastic vehicle to involve students of all ages in small, hands-on and exploratory research projects. Like many others, my students and I have investigated various aspects of this interesting fountain.
Promoting Problem-Solving and Discovery Learning
The March 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: protein chemistry; making connections in in chemical education research; chemical bonding; importance of non-technical skills; courses built on reactivity; periodic table; heterocyclic compounds; teaching resources; from the archives: Using Wikipedia and Wikis to teach.
I recently stumbled upon this article and it is a super handy resource for kinetics labs (and a nice review of Analytical courses from my college days).
Chemical kinetics is one of the five challenge areas in AP Chemistry. My students and I have been working our way through one of the teaching and learning activities called Concentration vs. Time. The graphical analysis, guided-inquiry questions, and application to past and future content are seriously challenging, and my students report higher levels of understanding than in past semesters.
Ringing in Volume 94
The January 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: NMR spectroscopy; examining assessment; inquiry-based practices; cost-effective instrumentation; miscibility demonstrations; innovative laboratory experiments; from the archives: lightsticks.
I taught my students how to use the method of initial rates. I taught my students rate laws. However, they strugged to differentiate when to use what method. Upon further probing, they struggled to articulate why one might use one method over the other. They could parrot back some ideas ("The rate law tells you about the particles involved in the rate determining step of the reaction."), but I wasn't convinced of mastery and connections.
The August 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: blue bottle reaction revisited; precollege professional development; chemical education research on intermolecular interactions and bonding; integrated courses; activities involving kinetics, enzymes, and gases; nanomaterial & polymer laboratories; organic synthesis; NMR teaching resources; book recommendations for summer reading.