February 2019 Xchange

Dear Readers,

Our February issue of the Xchange highlights just a few of the contributions we have published over the past month. You will find work from several new authors along with those you are already familiar with. I hope you will take a moment to check in and see what you might have missed. There is definitely something for everyone! 

I want to give a special shout out to my local West Michigan ACS Chapter and chemistry department friends at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Michelle DeWitt is working with a team of volunteers to help create the ! This is a great opportunity to be part of the International Year of the Periodic Table celebration! You still have time to choose an element and take part!


D. Cullen


This redesigned laboratory curriculum provides students many opportunities to develop skill in quantitative procedures including titration techniques. These experiences are used to  enhance more chemical theory-rich capstone activities by diminishing the need to reteach laboratory techniques.


If you are looking to go beyond using traditional, arguably misleading, definitions of entropy involving “disorder” and “messy bedroom” analogies, the Boltzmann Bucks game fits the bill. The game, pulled from a Journal of Chemical Education article, provides a wonderful opportunity for students to more accurately conceptualize entropy.


As a teacher we are challenged to constantly adapt our pedagogical techniques to meet the needs of our learners. Improv in the classroom is fun and engaging strategy that students seem to enjoy.



This Science Reasoning Rubric can be used for many writing tasks in the chemistry classroom. This means students get used to seeing it, and this consistency is helpful as students write explanations and claims throughout the year.


Read Dr. Nakita Noel’s career profile describing her background and her current position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Princeton Research Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials.


The June, 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education contains an article that describes a simple, yet fascinating experiment that you and your students are going to love! It involves the use of butterfly wings from the genus Morpho. I obtained some of these wings and enjoyed experimenting with them. You will too!


Trends related to placement of elements on the periodic table are often taught using diagrams in a textbook. Students often memorize trends, but to get a true grasp of their meaning and what causes certain patterns is best understood when students create their own models and discuss the patterns with others.


Molecule Monday is an opportunity to engage students in the chemistry of everyday life. Molecules are chosen from everyday products and nature that are of special interest to students.


The concept of the mole is so fundamental to stoichiometry that teachers are always looking for ways to make the concept stick. The author shares a series of mini-practicums (one for each learning target) she assigned to her students during her mole unit. 


The February 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Erica Jacobsen shares highlights of special interest to high school chemistry teachers.

Be sure to check out Mary Saecker’s round-up of the whole February issue along with related articles from the archives: .


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