two-year college

Electrolytic Dissolution of Copper Metal

Looking for an easy, hands-on experiment to use in your classroom at the beginning of the school year? In the June, 2013 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education, Isao Ikemoto and Kouichi Saitou describe a simple experiment to demonstrate the electrolytic dissolution of copper ions from a copper electrode. This experiment can be conducted using only items that are easily obtained around the home or in grocery stores.

Holding Fire in the Palm of Your Hand

Some students of mine and I have published two papers in the Journal of Chemical Education that describe how stunt people use chemistry to safely set themselves ablaze while filming action movie scenes. The secret behind this stunt lies in the use of superabsorbent polymer (SAP) gels. To pull off this trick...

Chemistry and Crayola

Have you seen the new Crayola Crystal Effects Window Markers? You can draw on windows with these markers. Better yet, you can use these markers to teach students some chemistry! After drawing on a window with these markers and waiting a little while, the marker ink appears to crystalize! Check out the video.

Sparking Marshmallows

Have you ever cooked a marshmallow in a microwave? In case you are not familiar with this experiment, when a marshmallow is heated in a microwave, gases trapped in the marshmallow expand and escape. When the gas molecules escape from the marshmallow, they push against the marshmallow, causing it to expand. Check out the video.

Percent Composition of an Oreo Cookie

Whenever possible, I try to begin a topic with something my students are familar with. For the introduction of Percent Composition in my general chemistry course, I brought in bags of Oreo cookies. Seeing the bags upon entering class was a great attention getter. If you are looking for ways to add more inquiry to your chemistry course, this a an example of how you can experiment with giving up a little control. Try it and see how it goes.

Energizer Lab - A Target Inquiry Activity

This lab was written as part of the Target Inquiry program at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Students build an electrochemical cell, learn about the symbolic equations used in electrochemistry and manipulate a model representing the particulate level of what is happening during the electrochemical process.