Chemistry Teacher Tips and Tricks

DIY Whiteboards for Less Than $2.00/Each.

Whiteboards are great learning tools in a science classroom. With these instructions, you can make eight 24-in x 24-in whiteboards for less than $2.00 each! Instructions for simple whiteboard stands are included.

Chemistry is Everywhere! - Lyrics/Song/Video

In honor of the International Year of the Periodic Table, Tom Kuntzleman decided to write a song, sing it, and shoot an accompanying video to honor 150 years of the Periodic Table of Elements. Enjoy his song and video: Chemistry is Everywhere!

Some Like it Hot

In my class, I use the illustration of a mountain to help students push through the challenges of chemistry. Stoichiometry is the top of chemistry mountain. As we progress through the year, I say things like “the mountain is getting steep here!” or “there is not a lot of oxygen up here!” or “I will carry you up chemistry mountain if I have to!” to keep students motivated. When students finally get to the top of chemistry mountain (mid quarter 3), the air is thin, they are tired and they are ready to base jump off the mountain (see illustration from a former student below).

Reflections from a Paperless Classroom

Like many schools, this year my school went 1:1. Each of our students was issued an 11 inch Chromebook with a webcam. Our upperclassmen have the the older Samsung models with a front-facing webcam and our underclassmen have the new Lenovo N22/23 models with a flippable webcam. I am a “jump in head first” type of person so I decided to go completely paperless this year. Now that I am halfway through the year (and still paperless!), I wanted to share what has been working well for me and where the snags have been.

An Old Favorite: Brass Pennies

Take a look at an old favorite, the brass penny activity. There are several variations of procedural steps to be found. The safest version uses either a low concentration of NaOH or a solution of zinc chloride. 

Helping Students Make Connections by Reading and Analyzing "Chemistry's Core Ideas"

In this blog post, I share how I use an article from Dr. Peter Atkins, "Chemistry's Core Ideas." My IB Chemistry students read the article early in our program - and then revisit the article numerous times throughout our two-year course. The Google Slide document my students use is included in the supporting information.