hands-on learning

The Chemical Laser Show

Chemistry and lasers can be used to create a demonstration that includes several colors and flashing lights. This demonstration connects to topics in quantum chemistry and phase changes.

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.

Measurement, Uncertainty, and Significant Figures 

As high school teachers, we know that understanding how measurement works is crucial for lab skills and for understanding significant figures. We think measurement should be an easy topic for students to learn; especially because we know that teachers begin working with students in elementary school to teach these skills. However, I, and many other teachers, have spent countless hours teaching and reteaching a seemingly simple skill.

JCE 96.10 October 2019 Issue Highlights

Celebrating National Chemistry Week 2019

The October 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: marvelous metals; safety; engaging activities on nuclear chemistry and self-healing hydrogels; chemistry activities for students studying nursing; fostering community; mathematics and computer models in chemistry; innovative experiments; challenges of demonstrating the atmospheric greenhouse effect; chemical education research; resources for teaching.

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!"

JCE 96.08 August 2019 Issue Highlights

Chemistry Education: A Bridge to the Future

The August 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: authentic chemistry laboratories; student motivation, sustained interest, and student success; student understanding of fundamental concepts; aids to assessment; computer-based learning; active learning activities; engaging polymer chemistry activities; experimenting with flavor and food; organic chemistry laboratories; spectroscopy laboratories; acid-base chemistry; from the archives: polymer properties.

Equilibrium Snowball Fight

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!

A Great Introduction to Stoichiometry

This lab is one of my favorite activities to do in my classes and I look forward to it every year. The lab is simple, requires limited supplies, students love it (i.e. high engagement level), and I have found it to really set students up for stoichiometry.