Microplastics, Liquid Nitrogen, and Iodine: Polystyrene vs. Starch Foam Packing Peanuts

The differing electrostatic and solubility properties of starch and polystyrene foam packing peanuts are used in various demonstrations to describe aspects of microplastics and their interactions with the environment. Their differing responses to exposure to liquid nitrogen and iodine solutions are also described.

Surveying Litter as a Citizen Science Chemistry Activity

During the last few semesters, a small survey has been deployed at Bradley University where students were to describe and classify items of litter that they found. The purposes of the surveys were to get students thinking about some of the chemical implications of solid waste and give the students some experience with a citizen science project. The most recent iteration of the survey, and some of its results, are described.

Real vs Ideal - Do Students "Get It"?

Allowing students to confront the failure of a model and then helping them construct a new or slightly modified model to account for new observations is at the heart of the process of science. Ben Meacham shares one approach that can be deployed with a variation of depth, making it attainable for anyone learning about chemistry.

Effect of Temperature on Chemical Equilibrium using Copper Complexes

This post describes a simple way to generate blue, green, orange, and yellow copper complexes, and to use these complexes to introduce students to the effect of temperature on chemical equilibria. The protcol avoids the use of caustic agents, allowing the experiments to be conducted by students as a laboratory-based investigation.

Energizer Lab with Virtual Options

In this lab, students connect the workings of an electrochemical cell in the lab with the symbolic equations used in electrochemistry and manipulate a model representing the particulate level of what is happening during the electrochemical process. Although this lab was previously highlighted on ChemEd X, there are now virtual options offered!