JCE 94.02 February 2017 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education February 2017 Cover

Fostering Creativity in Chemistry

The February 2017 online issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available to subscribers. Topics featured include: surface chemistry; chemical identity thinking; conceptual understanding; communicating science to the general public; activities and labs linking chemistry and art; history and chemistry; early access to research; technology as instructional support; synthesis laboratories; from the archives: bottle chemistry.

The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements video series

If your not familiar with the video series "The Mystery of Matter, Search for the Elements" then I highly recommend their use as part of your curriculum. The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements is a PBS series about the amazing human story behind the Periodic Table. The videos, most of them 4-12 minutes long, draw on the interviews, re-enactments, animations and photographs that were shot and collected for the PBS series, with supplementary animations and images as needed. In all, the videos make up about three hours of programming. I shared several of the video clips with my high school students and they really seemed to enjoy them mentioning the reason was because the videos were done using actors to tell the stories and it was similar to watching a movie.

Introducing Superheavy Elements to Students

 Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

            In July of 2016 we learned the names of the four new elements that were confirmed in January; Nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og). Although the newest superheavy elements complete the seventh period of the Periodic Table, curiosity has been reignited in our classrooms as students ask, what’s next?

Walking in the Footsteps of Scientists Who Came Before Us


I started teaching in a chronological order when I began using Modeling Instruction in my classroom. During the second year of "walking in the footprints of the scientists that came before us", I wanted my students to see where they were walking and a colleague and I came up with the idea of making footprints for each of those scientists and posting them on a timeline.

Haber - The Father of Chemical Warfare

Haber Film

The HaberFilm.com website is a helpful resource for teachers that have interest in using the Haber video in their curriculum. Reading materials and lesson ideas are available. I recently used a lesson that my colleague created directly from the provided materials. You can check out that lesson here. The lesson included some background reading, viewing the video, participating in an excellent discussion and a follow up writing assignment.

Chemistry no mystery; or, A lecturer's bequest. Being the subject-matter of a course of lectures, delivered by an old philosopher, and taken in short-hand by one of the audience, whose name is not known

I have in my library several chemistry textbooks from before 1860, but "Chemistry No Mystery" is not one of them.  Reflecting as they do an approximation of the chemistry known at the time, they provide insight about the history of both science and pedagogy. I learned about this one from my friend Ron Perkins, a skilled chemical demonstrator, and "Chemistry No Mystery" is the most demonstration-oriented of the old textbooks I have seen.