hands-on learning

BCCE 2018 and The New Year

If you have never attended a BCCE, I offer some reasons to change that this summer. The conference will be in Notre Dame this summer. Please vote for the topic that you would like me to develop my presentation about.

Balancing Equations, Candy and an Evolving Activity

I feel like every year I face the same old dilemma. It starts with an idea in mind of what and how something should be taught. This idea is fine until it is discovered that students this year are different than students last year. The idea is changed or “tweaked”. The process is feels similar to having to “reinvent” the wheel each year. This gets exhausting.

Magnesium, Gas Laws and Exam Review

It was close to the end of the semester and we were covering gas laws. Students were stressed over the idea of finals, final projects due, tests before finals and the holidays. Since we were finishing up the topic and it was important to end with one last assessment and/or lab but the timing was not good and the stress level for everyone was at an all time high. A different course of action was needed.

JCE 94.12 December 2017 Issue Highlights

Improving Student Perception and Performance 

The December 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: functional nanomaterials and chemical detection; improving student performance; peer-led instruction; simulations and computer-based learning; engaging and interactive instruction; synthesis laboratories; NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry; innovative physical chemistry investigations; ConfChem Conference on select 2016 BCCE presentations; from the archives: music and chemistry.

Nomenclature

Nomenclature is a tough topic. I tell students that we are living in the land of symbols while we study nomenclature. It is important but it is difficult to get them excited. I started fishing for resources. The American Association for Chemistry Teachers (AACT) has been a great resource to help me try new things.

An Old Favorite: Brass Pennies

Take a look at an old favorite, the brass penny activity. There are several variations of procedural steps to be found. The safest version uses either a low concentration of NaOH or a solution of zinc chloride.