Public Understanding

Chemical Connections to Climate Change

carbon dioxide absorbing IR light

It is becoming increasingly important for citizens to understand various concepts related to climate change and global warming. This post describes several chemical concepts that are pertinent to these issues, in the hopes that teachers of science and chemistry can introduce the topic of climate change into their classrooms and everyday discussions.

Chemical Mystery #9: Liquid Nitrogen vs. Dry Ice

Bucket launch

A 2L soda pop bottle is filled about one-third full with either liquid nitrogen or solid carbon dioxide (dry ice) and water. The bottle is sealed and a plastic bucket is placed on top. Do you think the liquid nitrogen or dry ice and water will make the bucket go higher? Can you explain the results using chemistry?

The Dry-Ice-in-Water Cloud

Cloud formed when dry ice is placed in water

Have you ever wondered where the cloud comes from when dry ice is placed in water? If you think the answer is “atmospheric water vapor”, be sure to read this post because experimental evidence suggests that this explanation is wrong.

Chemical Mystery #8: Go Blue!

Go Blue!

Addition of a white solid to a green solution causes the solution to separate into some truly beautiful colors...

JCE 92.10 October 2015 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education October 2015 Cover

Celebrating National Chemistry Week 2015: Chemistry Colors Our World

The October 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. National Chemistry Week, a community-based annual event uniting ACS local sections, businesses, schools, and individuals in communicating the value of chemistry in our everyday life, is being celebrated October 18–24, 2015 with the theme “Chemistry Colors Our World”. Articles in this issue can help you make the most of this annual celebration.

The Gas Laws Are Out of This World!

Weather balloon near the edge of space

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. 

Using Twitter for a Backchannel Chat During a Fish Bowl Discussion

In a previous post, I discussed the work of my grade 10 class as we read the non-fiction story, The Case of the Frozen Addicts. We've continued working our way through the book, taking one class every two weeks to delve into the issues presented. Just this week, we engaged in a fish-bowl discussion. To help steer the discussion, I started the class with a quick warm-up activity asking students to suggest topics or questions that they would want to talk through in the fish bowl.