two-year college

A Polystyrene Model of Polystyrene Tacticity

Thin sheets of polystyrene can be patterned with permanent markers to represent repeating units of the polymer and then shrunk down in size using heat. The shrunken models of the repeating units can be connected with a string and then flipped into positions to demonstrate different types of polymer tacticity.

Electrons as Waves?

A simple demonstration for high school chemistry students is described which gives a plausible connection between electrons as waves and the shapes of the s and p orbitals. This demonstration may build a transition from electrons as particles to electrons as waves.

Does Alka-Seltzer Tell the Truth? A lab activity with a video pre-lab assigment

The lab activity shared here is a simple experiment where students use stoichiometric principles to experimentally determine the amount of sodium bicarbonate in an Alka-Seltzer tablet. Novice students tend to find stoichiometric calculations difficult, so practicing the calculations on a pre-lab assignment boosts their confidence and ultimately leads to more successful labs. The Asynchronous Video Pre-Lab Assignment shared here demonstrates the procedure and the calculations required in the experiment.

Analogy Experiment—Projectile Pennies with Rutherford

Atomic theory is a common topic throughout any introductory chemistry course. It is likely that Rutherford’s gold foil experiment gets at least some attention in your course. This simple activity gives students an opportunity to replicate Rutherford’s experiment through an analogy experiment that may allow for easier conceptualization of the experiment itself and provide additional support for model development.

Chemical Bonding and Naming with Nora Walsh

In this ChemBasics Talk, Nora Walsh offers everything necessary to plan a unit on the topic of chemical bonding and naming including introductory and discovery activities, manipulative activities, practice problems, her favorite online teaching resources and more. Watch the recording and access resources she shared.

Thermal Paper as a Polarity and Acidity Detector

Thermal paper such as that used for point of sale receipts typically functions by darkening when exposed to heat. The pigment system used in this paper also darkens when exposed to solvents of intermediate polarity and acids. This enables thermal paper to be used as an inexpensive sort of indicator paper for a variety of demonstrations.

Using a Gallery Walk inquiry activity to guide students through naming binary ionic compounds with variable charges

While students usually do well with naming binary ionic compounds of fixed charge, many students struggle with naming ionic compounds that contain ions of variable charge. This activity uses a technique often found in humanities classes, a gallery walk, as a guided inquiry experience harnessing real-life applications of several sets of related compounds to address many common misconceptions and lead students to discover the meaning of the Roman numerals when naming and writing formulas for these compounds.

Video Pre-Labs Improve the Lab Experience

Teaching during COVID was challenging; however, a few positive results surprisingly emerged. For one, Josh Kenney filmed a small library of chemistry lab videos for use in virtual chemistry labs after his school switched to remote learning. At first, he wasn't sure if he would continue to use those videos when his district returned to in-person instruction until he discovered that they would make excellent pre-lab assignments.