JCE 94.11 November 2017 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education November 2017 Cover

Polymer Concepts across the Curriculum

The November 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. The entire issue is focused on polymer concepts across the curriculum. This special issue provides useful ideas and tools for chemistry instructors of all levels.

An Elemental Understanding of Isotopes

In January of 2017, Chad Hustings wrote a blog post, Isotopes, Nuts, Bolts and Eggs, about an activity some colleagues and I had shared in a workshop at BCCE in 2016. With encouragement from many ChemEd X readers that wanted to try the activity for themselves, I am sharing more details and a student handout.

Chad wrote: 

Time required: 

About 30-40 minutes for the activity. This depends on how many balances are available to share and how many different isotopes are made for a single element. We had 5 balances for 12 or 13 teams of two students. Students can work in groups of 3 as well.

My Research: Unpacking Active Learning

group work

Does flipping the classroom actually enhance students’ learning, above and beyond just incorporating collaborative activities into classroom instruction? John Moore, one of the chemistry professors at my university, the University of Wisconsin - Madison approached me with this question. We ended up conducting a research study on one of his chemistry courses.

Elements and Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a type of technology that uses an app to turn a hidden QR code into a three dimensional object on a screen as viewed by your camera. Elements 4D attempts to bring augmented reality to chemistry.

Especially JCE: September 2017

September 2017 JCE cover

Erica Jacobsen shares highlights from the September 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education that are of special interest to high school chemistry teachers.

Building a Blended Culture in a Secondary Science Classroom

building a blended culture

During my first year of teaching (in Indianapolis, IN), I was inspired by some research I had read as well as some other teachers in the Indy area who were flipping their classes. I was at a small parochial school where parental and administrative support for technology inclusion was present. My principal outfitted me with the tools I needed to “flip” my classes and record tutorial videos. Things went pretty well. It was a learning curve for many but I also had good feedback from students and parents.

This post was submitted for the 2017 ChemEd X Call for Contributions: Creating a Classroom Culture.

Modeling the Concept of Ionic Bonding

film canisters with different strengths of magnets

When describing abstract concepts like chemical bonding, it always seems to feel far too easy for both teachers and students to resort to the “wants” and “needs” of atoms. After all, we understand what it means to want, need, or like something, so it often feels appropriate (and easier) to use a relatable metaphor or subtly anthropomorphize these atoms to accommodate our students’ current reasoning abilities. While predicting the types of bonds that will form and the general idea behind how atoms bond can be answered correctly using such relatable phrases or ideas, the elephant in the room still in remains—do our students really understand why these atoms bond? 

Brainstorming with the Alchemie Animator

screen shot of app description on iTunes store

 Alchemie Animator by Alchemie, LLC is the latest creation from Julia Winter, CEO of Alchemie and the creator of the app Chairs. The free app is available in the itunes store and is currently designed for both iPhone and iPad.

Using Visual BCA Tables to Teach Limiting Reactants

picture of materials and WS

A few months ago I was searching the internet, looking for a better way to teach stoichiometry to my pre-AP chemistry students. While my methods of dimensional analysis “got the job done” for most students, I would still always lose students and many lacked true understanding of what was happening in the reaction. I wanted to try something new that would promote a better chemical understanding. In my search for this elusive stoichiometry method, I came across Dena Leggett’s ChemEd X blog post entitled “Doc Save Everyone”, as well as other posts about BCA tables from Lauren Stewart, Lowell Thomson, and Larry Dukerich.