Each year we work on specific heat of materials and the heat of fusion of ice. These are two labs that are typical for most chemistry classrooms. Most of the experiments involve a simple calorimetry experiment that uses a styrofoam cup and provides generally good results. There tend to be a couple of key ideas with all of these experiments.
In my previous blog post I described some problems I encountered when beginning my instruction on energy this year. From the misconceptions fostered by the biology textbooks using the phrase “high-energy phosphate bond” to idea that energy comes in different forms, the Modeling community recognizes the challenges of teaching the energy concept and has developed a way of talking about energy designed to help students construct a consistent and cohesive model.
Have you ever thought about the ways we, as chemistry teachers, talk about the concept of energy? Think about all the different terms we use when we talk about the role of energy in our curriculum: endothermic, exothermic, heat, specific heat, heat capacity, enthalpy, tempera