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.
For dynamic equilibrium, I like to use a physical analogy that pits students against each other in a classroom-wide “snowball” fight. Not only is this activity great for building students’ conceptualization of dynamic equilibrium, it is also really fun!
Chemistry is difficult to learn. Walk into any chemistry classroom, and you’ll be soon confronted with many abstract concepts. Abstract ideas have no physical form, and as a result, they are difficult to understand.
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.
Atomic theory is a common topic throughout any introductory chemistry course. It is likely that Rutherford’s gold foil experiment gets at least some attention in your course. I have used a simple activity that gives students an opportunity to replicate Rutherford’s experiment through an analogy experiment that may allow for easier conceptualization of the experiment itself and provide additional support for model development.
I am already planning for my trip to Illinois in July to attend ChemEd 2019! Let me tell you why I want to attend.
In our recently published letter in the Journal of Chemical Education,"Black Panther, Vibranium and the Periodic Table", we describe how the movie, Black Panther, provides a unique opportunity for students to think critically about the arrangement of the periodic table.
Erica Jacobsen shares highlights from the March 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education.
Have you been watching the Winter Olympics? I have been able to draw many similarities and relevance to what I am teaching in the classroom. How about you?
In this blog post I will discuss an interview with Dr. Richard Feynman relating to magnets that explores the concept of "why?" questions in science. You will find a links to a blog post and a transcript of the interview along with ideas for how I use the video in IB Chemistry.