The blossoms of eastern skunk cabbage produce heat for a couple of weeks in early spring. This heat, which can be detected using an infrared camera, results from oxidation of carbohydrates. The mechanisms behind this process can be used to introduce energy transduction during classroom discussions of thermochemistry.
Learn how to thermochemically analyze the Devil's Milkshake chemical demonstration - just in time for Halloween!
Learn a simple way to relate the heat equation (Q = mc∆T ) to climate change.
Come explore the “Fire and Ice” pedagogic field laboratory. Follow suggested pathways and perspectives, or blaze your own trails. Visit for 10 minutes or for hours.
The application of Hess's Law frequently presents students with conceptual problems. This series of experiments confirms Hess's Law and offers a robust understanding of this principle. This can be done as a demo completed by the teacher or as a lab with groups of students.
Before trying to use a piece of equipment, it’s worthwhile to have a basic understanding of how it works. To put it simply, FLIR cameras primarily deal with the infrared part of the EMR spectrum. The camera detects infrared energy and converts it into an electrical signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image on a video monitor.
The post-Thanksgiving excessive calorie-consumption 'blues' have arrived. How is it possible to eat so much? For a bear, it's easy. Easy as pie. Bears are champion eaters, spending about half the year eating non-stop in preparation for winter's foodless landscape. How can this calorie consumption observation about the bear world be used to teach certain chemistry concepts routinely covered? This post includes discussion and two classroom activities about the following common general chemistry topics/concepts- thermochemistry, unit conversions, and interpretation of numerical data. Enjoy...
A common topic in chemistry discussion groups and forums is about the use of the terms “spontaneous reaction” versus “thermodynamic favorability”. This is a new activity for chemistry students who struggle with the correlation between changes in enthalpy, temperature, entropy, and the Gibbs free energy of a system; which relies on an analogy that most students will be familiar with.
If you are looking to go beyond using traditional, arguably misleading, definitions of entropy involving “disorder” and “messy bedroom” analogies, the Boltzmann Bucks game fits the bill. The game, pulled from a Journal of Chemical Education article, provides a wonderful opportunity for students to more accurately conceptualize entropy.
You are likely aware that diamonds are converted - albeit slowly - to graphite under normal conditions. Thus, diamonds don't last forever, in contrast to the popular advertising slogan. However, did you know that you can use chemistry to prove that diamonds are not forever? It's simpler than you think...