Exploring Chemical Reactions with Sarah English

Chemical Reactions is a topic that unites a number of skills from formula writing, balancing equations, predicting products and solubility to name a few. On January 13th, 2022, Sarah English shared her unit covering chemical reactions in this ChemBasics Talk. You can view a recording of her presentation and access materials she has suggested.

Lithium Battery Flame

Inspired by a recent article in the Journal of Chemical Education, Tom Kuntzleman attempted to extract lithium from a coin battery, and to use the extracted lithium to produce a pink flame.

The Empirical Formula of Magnesium Oxide Lab: A Successful Failure, Next Steps—and an Important Lesson

Michael Jansen reflects on a very common empirical formula lab that asks students to determine the empirical formula of MgxOy. He then explains how he continues to use it as a "successful failure", how he demonstrates an alternate procedure and leads his students to an important lesson.

Bubbly BBs and Vaccinated Mentos: Chemical Illustrations to Promote Public Health Measures

The authors revisit "flattening the curve" demonstrations published during 2020 to see how they could represent the impact of vaccinations on the COVID 19 battlefront. These demonstrations do not demonstrate the mechanisms of vaccines themselves, but are rather analogies to their potential effect on a population. In these analogies, gas production still represents illness, but this time people are represented by objects added to the solutions which either enable gas production (unvaccinated individuals) or do not enable gas production (vaccinated individuals). These simple experiments are best used as stand-alone demonstrations, and links to videos are included in this writeup.

Creating Interactive Particle Diagram Activities for Online Instruction

Many teachers have students draw models and diagrams to help them illustrate how matter behaves. Teachers can uncover and address possible misconceptions quickly using this strategy. The author describes how to create interactive particle diagram activities that are easy for students to use online. This strategy is applicable to almost any particle diagram and should be useful for teachers during virtual lessons.