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.
Particulate diagrams are all the rage in chemical education. Learn simple tricks to create your own!
This week marks the launch of a new science education podcast called, Science Modeling Talks. The podcast provides some history on the Modeling pedagogy and access to resources, as well as entertaining anecdotes from award-winning educators. The podcast is free and available on a variety of platforms.
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.
Cultivating Chemical Curiosity
The September 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: exploring the chemistry of natural materials; research in chemical education; undergraduate research and project-based laboratories; innovative organic chemistry teaching; organic laboratory instruction; analytical chemistry investigations and instrumentation; nanochemistry; inorganic chemistry; teaching kinetics; exploring kinetic-molecular theory; from the archives: biodiesel.
I have been using magnets of elements and subatomic particles for some time to help my students visualize what is happening at the particle level of chemistry. I now have more tools to use and I hope you follow me and explore what we can do with them to help our students.
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!
Like most concepts in chemistry, intermolecular forces takes a bit of imagination and critical thinking to fully comprehend and apply when explaining a variety of situations. Though demonstrating the presence of these forces in a simple and explicit manner can easily be done, I wanted to change how I introduced IMFs a bit this year by focusing on a more data-to-concepts approach.
Whiteboards are great learning tools in a science classroom. With these instructions, you can make eight 24-in x 24-in whiteboards for less than $2.00 each! Instructions for simple whiteboard stands are included.
How many of you could recite, word for word, a definition you learned in school? When you first memorized the definition, you could state “inertia is a property of matter”, or “density is mass over volume.” However, you struggled to apply it to a new situation and maybe you were unsure of how to construct a model of what it meant.