Science Practice: Planning and Carrying out Investigations

Lithium Battery Flame

Inspired by a recent article in the Journal of Chemical Education, Tom Kuntzleman attempted to extract lithium from a coin battery, and to use the extracted lithium to produce a pink flame.

The Start of Another Year.....

Chad Husting explains how he used two hands on activities to get a sense of where his students were at within the realm of labwork and the scientific process as school began. 

The Empirical Formula of Magnesium Oxide Lab: A Successful Failure, Next Steps—and an Important Lesson

Michael Jansen reflects on a very common empirical formula lab that asks students to determine the empirical formula of MgxOy. He then explains how he continues to use it as a "successful failure", how he demonstrates an alternate procedure and leads his students to an important lesson.

Surveying Litter as a Citizen Science Chemistry Activity

During the last few semesters, a small survey has been deployed at Bradley University where students were to describe and classify items of litter that they found. The purposes of the surveys were to get students thinking about some of the chemical implications of solid waste and give the students some experience with a citizen science project. The most recent iteration of the survey, and some of its results, are described.

Effect of Temperature on Chemical Equilibrium using Copper Complexes

This post describes a simple way to generate blue, green, orange, and yellow copper complexes, and to use these complexes to introduce students to the effect of temperature on chemical equilibria. The protcol avoids the use of caustic agents, allowing the experiments to be conducted by students as a laboratory-based investigation.