I usually start of the school year with a measuring activity. This year, I used Tom Kuntzleman's Mentos and Diet Coke experiment and had students use the data to do some graphing and analysis. This was a nice lead into our gas unit. I also made my own syphon coffee maker to demonstrate for my students.
If you are looking for ideas to create an authentic opportunity for students to apply their knowledge of gas laws while integrating some of the most important science practices, then this activity may fit your needs.
It is always helpful to have a lab that can be adapted to meet the needs of students. The "Magnesium Lab" is one of these experiments.
Based upon reader comments on previously published, Chemical Mystery #12, I experimented and found that this demonstration is easy to pull off with relatively inexpensive and easy to find materials.
Check out the solution to Chemical Mystery #12: Baffling Balloons
A favorite demonstration is to boil water by lowering the pressure in a bell jar using a vacuum pump. Unfortunately, purchasing a bell jar, vacuum plate, and vacuum pump can run upwards of $1,000 which poses a hardship for many teachers. Here are two simple and inexpensive demonstrations of phase equilibrium and vapor pressure.
Recently, while attending the High School Teacher Day at the ACS National meeting in New Orleans, we were given Wack-A-Pack™ valentine balloons and encouraged to play with them. I am a huge fan of finding chemistry in the real world and using it as an integral part of my instruction; and as we were experimenting, I was reminded of a rather fun activity I had done on Valentine’s Day with my AP students.
Based on some interactions here on ChemEd X and Twitter, I have been looking for ways to have students generate more questions, ideas, and investigation methods. (See a list of relevant links below.) Some of this is inspired by Argument Driven Inquiry, while some of it is simply my own quest to move further away from being the sole source of information in the class. In this blog post, I would like to talk about how I addressed gas laws using Atomsmith Classroom Online as an investigative tool in place of lab work I did previously using the Vernier gas pressure sensor.
Recently, my district made a commitment to helping its teachers reflect and rethink their grading and assessment practices. One of the phrases I kept hearing throughout our staff professional development sessions was authentic assessment. I understood (and agreed with) the basic premise—create more opportunities for students to perform tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. Doing so involves going beyond, or even potentially replacing, traditional summative assessments at the end of each unit.
Face to face professional development provides the opportunity for teachers to learn from and share with other teachers. This post provides an example of one of the many great ideas that I have learned from other teachers.