ChemEd X activities are student-centered resources intended to aid learning chemistry topics.
ChemEd X emphasizes inquiry-based activities where students pose questions (with direction from the teacher) and then attempt to discover the answers through scientific inquiry.
ChemEd X recently made a Call for Contributions soliciting input regarding the big ideas being put forth by organizations like AP. The first thing that came to mind was a lab I modified that is centered around making connections between topics. Admittedly, this lab is not a "big idea" per se. Rather, it's the big idea that students should be able to make connections between topics we study to solve problems. So in this blog post, I would like to share a lab activity that relies on these connections - between stoichiometry, esterification, equilibrium, kinetics, titrations and uncertainty of calculations. I will also share the resources I have created to support my students through the process of working through these calculations.
In a previous post I talked about an equation balancing lab that I have been doing with my students involving building molecular models. This time I would like to focus on another lab that I have developed for my model kits.
Isotopes Matter is a digital learning tool, developed by IUPAC Isotopic Periodic Table, designed to explain isotopes as well as their importance. This resource incorporates mass spectroscopy data into each of the key ideas as well as provides multiple examples as to how varying isotopes are commonly used.
Just this week I'm reviewing equilibrium with my IB Chemistry seniors after they finished some summer study on the topic. One of our classes was spent manipulating a classic equilibrium involving copper ions and a copper-chloride complex ion.
I am a very firm believer that the world of physical science can be visualized and is an excellent medium for teaching students to model and to picture what happens at the molecular level. The first topic we decided to explore was balancing chemical equations. This seems like such a simple topic to chemistry teachers but I have found that it can be quite challenging for many of my inner city students. The first thing they ask me for is a list of rules that they can follow. We can discuss the problems of algorithmic teaching in a later post! For the time being let’s talk about how to get students to understand why they need to balance equations and discuss what we can call “Conservation of Atoms”.
For my students and me, the AP Chemistry exam does not mark the end of the school year. Once the AP exam is over, my students are exhausted but our class continues to meet for three more weeks. Each year we complete a qualitative analysis lab, but this year we finished earlier than I anticipated. For the first time all year, I have the luxury of time.
Using a whiteboard or poster paper each group of students creates their interpretation of the model thus far based on a content unit they are given.
This is my first year of using Modeling Instruction in my chemistry classes. During a fit of productivity, I created some bell ringers for unit one, which is partly about conservation of mass. I hope you will find them useful. Comments are welcome. I would love to see what others might be using.
During the first week of school, I welcome my students to the What Not To Do Lab. The PDF is available for free at the Laboratory Safety Institute website. I use the cartoon activity to review their Safety Contract handout from the night before (I use the one from FLINN Scientific). With more than 30 safety violations shown, the cartoon serves as a great ice breaker as I have each student introduce themselves and then list a safety infraction being shown on the cartoon.