June/July 2017 ChemEd X Newsletter

Dear ChemEd X Community,

First, I want to mention that we were pleased with the response to our inaugural ChemEd X virtual conference, Chemistry Instruction for the Next Generation. If you attended the conference, you can revisit the conversations by signing into the . We look forward to hosting another virtual conference using the feedback we received from those that completed the exit survey. 

Second, I hope you will read about our Call for Contributions: Creating a Classroom Culture below and consider preparing a submission. The post includes examples of previous submissions that fit the description. I am happy to offer support as you pull together your thoughts and shape them into a manuscript. Feel free to contact me through the .

Best regards,

Deanna Cullen


As many school districts are moving toward incorporating student-centered curriculum and pedagogy, many teachers have found that it can be difficult to initiate a classroom culture that encourages students to embrace the change, which calls for them to engage in discussions and take more responsibility for their own learning. ChemEd X is interested in learning about how teachers are creating a culture of student-centered learning in their classrooms.


Tom Kuntzleman offers another chemical mystery along with a video. See if you can solve it before viewing  that provides an explanation.


This activity can be used at different points in the curriculum: during a unit involving intermolecular forces, acids and bases, or stoichiometry. You can decide if you wish to include the math or just focus on the reaction. Simply making the soap easily fits into a 45-minute period.


Andres Tretiakov and Tom Kuntzleman collaborated to investigate a classic experiment involving the use of permanganate ion (MnO4) to test for the presence of oxalic acid (C2H2O4) in rhubarb stems. It is thought that the oxalic acid present in rhubarb causes this reduction. The investigations presented in this post provide evidence that this may not be the whole story...


When describing abstract concepts like chemical bonding, it always seems to feel far too easy for both teachers and students to resort to the “wants” and “needs” of atoms. After all, we understand what it means to want, need, or like something, so it often feels appropriate (and easier) to use a relatable metaphor or subtly anthropomorphize these atoms to accommodate our students’ current reasoning abilities. While predicting the types of bonds that will form and the general idea behind how atoms bond can be answered correctly using such relatable phrases or ideas, the elephant in the room still remains—do our students really understand why these atoms bond? 


Kaleb Underwood explains how he uses this classic demonstration. It can be performed at various points of the year depending on your sequence and desired level of complexity. 



Erica Jacobsen regularly highlights JCE articles that are of special interest to high school teachers. If you would like to explore the whole issue in more depth, check out Mary Saecker's .


We hope you enjoy the content mentioned here and other content at ChemEd X. If you find ChemEd X content useful, please consider to help support ChemEd X using our online store. In addition to supporting the free content we make available, you will also get access to our complete and to help in teaching and learning chemistry. If you would like to contribute content, begin with the . For other questions or comments, please use our