HS-PS1-5 Rates of Reactions

Chemical Illustrations of Flattening the Curve

With the current global COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much discussion of “flattening the curve” by social distancing. These ideas can be demonstrated chemically, for example, by the iron-catalyzed decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to produce an oxygen gas foam. Decreased hydrogen peroxide concentrations, representing decreased human population concentrations from social distancing, produce oxygen gas foam, representing cases of illness, at a slower rate. A similar demonstration can be achieved using the popular Diet Coke and Mentos experiment. These simple experiments are best used as stand-alone demonstrations.

Chemical Kinetics with a Smartphone

This experiment in chemical kinetics can be conducted using materials as simple as a smartphone, hydrogen peroxide, sodium carbonate solution, and blue food dye! The experiment is useful when discussing the order of rate laws with respect to reactants.

Disappearing X Lab

In the embedded video, I will walk you through a kinetics experiment we use in our Chemistry 2 (and Honors Chemistry 2) courses. The lab is called Disappearing X.

Excellent Resource for Teaching Chemical Kinetics

Chemical kinetics is one of the five challenge areas in AP Chemistry. My students and I have been working our way through one of the teaching and learning activities called Concentration vs. Time. The graphical analysis, guided-inquiry questions, and application to past and future content are seriously challenging, and my students report higher levels of understanding than in past semesters.

Kinetics Review

In one of my last blog posts I wrote of how I sometimes enjoy ending a unit with a series of demonstrations and using them to elicit a dialog between the students and myself to check for understanding. It is always a fascinating experience to hear the misconceptions that many students have the day before the test.