Science Practice: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Airbag challenge

In the “Airbag challenge” the students are tasked with developing a safe airbag for a car company. This formative assessment explores students’ thinking about the question “How can chemical changes be controlled?” The central concept in this challenge is the application is stoichiometry. Students are expected to use the numbers of moles of reactant consumed or product formed in a balanced chemical equation and to determine the change in the number of moles of any other reactant and product. Students need to use molar mass to convert mass of a reactant or product to moles for use in stoichiometric calculations or to convert moles from stoichiometric calculations to mass. Students use the ideal gas law equation to determine the numbers of moles in a sample of gas not at standard conditions.

Filling the Void: Options for Authentic Investigations Online

With the school year quickly approaching, science teachers will at some point need to decide the role of laboratory investigation within their new learning environment. To help this decision-making process, the author focuses on two available options that he believes have the greatest potential for offering a legitimate approach toward authentic investigations in a digital environment.

A Multi-Colored Equilibrium Experiment

Solutions of copper (II) dissolved in acetone are easy to prepare, and can display orange, yellow, green, and blue color depending upon conditions. Such solutions allow for a variety of demonstrations and experiments that illustrate principles of chemical equilibrium. 

Chemical Tests on Coins

Simple chemical tests are described that can indicate the presence of certain metals in coins. A wide variety of chemical concepts are involved. The experiments described are a natural fit for the 2019 National Chemistry Week theme of "Marvelous Metals!"

First Day Chemistry Engineering Activity

I just finished my first week of school, like many teachers in the Midwest. I work hard to get my Honors Chemistry students in a lab setting as soon as possible. It is difficult to find a perfect lab to do on the first or second day of school. In my mind, the ideal first chemistry lab would require no prior chemistry knowledge, involve interesting chemistry, address an NGSS standard, be relatively safe, not require expensive glassware or lab tools, and reinforce positive class norms. I have found engineering labs fit the bill! I don't know if I have found the "perfect" lab, but I have found something close I want to share!