This activity aims to boost students’ confidence in representing the atomic world. It also aims to educate both students and the general public about the “chemicals” found in everyday objects.
Matter & Change
The many colors of springtime can be illustrated with photochromic pigments in commercial products. These products include UV beads, and more recently, photochromic glue. The glue can be used as a photochromic paint for paper or even eggs. The resulting colorful, decorative objects can be used to illustrate chemical discussions of aspects of photochemistry.
Assembling a large graduated cylinder with colored sugar solutions of various densities is described. By filling the cylinder in the reverse order from bottom up, very little mixing occurs resulting in an attractive classroom demonstration to illustrate density. Students also have to opportunity to practice density and dilution calculations.
The demonstration where CO2 is generated and used to snuff out a candle in an aquarium or other container is well known. This article describes a dramatic variation on these demonstrations that allows for discussion of such topics as the ideal gas law, densities of different gases, gas density changes with temperature, miscibility, and viscosity. The device described is easily and inexpensively produced and stored. The demonstration is large scale and works well for classrooms and community outreach events.
Observing the floating and sinking behavior of diet and sugared sodas is a classic chemistry demonstration. Learn how to perform this experiment as a quantitative lab that can be accomplished as an at-home activity!
The concept of density is investigated regularly- in lecture, lab, or both- in Introductory (non-science majors) or the majors General Chemistry 1 courses. This post describes a short activity involving ice core density.
The author explains a virtual chemistry lab activity for use in a high school chemistry class. This activity is an excellent way to introduce measurements, significant figures, and the concept of density.
Learn how to form a blue-green copper compound on a penny, and then use that compound to make green flames. This is a great summer time activity for your next campfire!
Bill Hammack, Michael Faraday, and the timeless beauty of the science behind the combustion of a candle. "There is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of science than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle," Michael Faraday.
The June, 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education contains an article that describes a simple, yet fascinating experiment that you and your students are going to love! It involves the use of butterfly wings from the genus Morpho. I obtained some of these wings and enjoyed experimenting with them. You will too!