In "Comparing household chemicals" students discover the effects of using different types of household chemicals and determine if they are really all so different. This formative assessment targets the question “What are the effects of using and producing different matter types?” This is important because students should understand the types of products they are using. If they are buying something that says it is a cleaner for the bathroom, why does it sometimes have the same compounds in it as a cleaner for the kitchen. If students can recognize this, then they can be better consumers and not have to buy two different products knowing that the chemicals are the same.
I had a conversation with a college freshman after church last Sunday. She had recently wrapped up her first semester’s courses, which included chemistry. I asked what she thought of the class. What would you predict her response to be? It was, “I’m glad there are people out there like you who like chemistry,” but it wasn’t for her. She had survived it, and it was done.
October was always the "big" one. That was the monthly issue that coincided with National Chemistry Week (NCW) when I was at the Journal of Chemical Education. In a past Especially for High School Teachers column, I compared the arrival of the October 2005 issue in the mail to receiving a Christmas gift. That year, it was filled with resources for sharing chemistry through “The Joy of Toys.” Those issues were a bonanza of articles chosen with precollege teachers in mind, including many that specifically matched the American Chemical Society NCW theme for the year.