The December 2020 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: teaching during COVID-19; examining models used by students; chemical structure; game-based learning; interdisciplinary courses; teaching chemistry using plants; laboratory instruction with real-world context; fluorescence; exploring spectroscopy; thermodynamics; chemical education research; from the archives: photography.
Learn a simple way to relate the heat equation (Q = mc∆T ) to climate change.
A common topic in chemistry discussion groups and forums is about the use of the terms “spontaneous reaction” versus “thermodynamic favorability”. This is a new activity for chemistry students who struggle with the correlation between changes in enthalpy, temperature, entropy, and the Gibbs free energy of a system; which relies on an analogy that most students will be familiar with.
You are likely aware that diamonds are converted - albeit slowly - to graphite under normal conditions. Thus, diamonds don't last forever, in contrast to the popular advertising slogan. However, did you know that you can use chemistry to prove that diamonds are not forever? It's simpler than you think...
The solution to Chemical Mystery #11, which involves the Leidenfrost Effect, is presented.
What happens if you place metal that is glowing orange-hot into some water? Watch this video and find out!
In a previous blog post, I shared a book Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction, by Dr. Peter Atkins. For my summer reading I wanted to get back to reading some chemistry non-fiction. I did, however, diverge from my original plan to read Eric Scerri's The Periodic Table: It's story and significance. Instead. "Four Laws That Drive the Universe" (with an alternative title of The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction) became my next book as I so thoroughly enjoyed the writing style of Peter Atkins. The Kindle Version is only $6.15 and worth every penny in my opinion.
In Chemical Mystery #10, plastic straws are observed to “magically” change color when waved in the air. Check out the explanation and the video.
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.
In this simple trick, colors are made to "magically" appear and disappear on a straw. This science experiment is very easy to do...if you know your chemistry!