Two Simple and Cheap Illustrations of Phase Equilibrium and Vapor Pressure

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.

Self-Inflatable Valentine Balloons – Chemistry is Everywhere!

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.

Using an Argument-Driven Inquiry framework for student exploration of gas laws

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.


Incorporating Authentic Assessments in Chemistry

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.

Molar Volume of Gas - Lab Tip

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. 

Chemical Connections to Climate Change

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.