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Using Models for Learning Chemistry The August 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/8. The August issue contains content to spark thinking about models and how to foster meaningful learning in chemistry classrooms and improve student understanding.
The Royal Society of Chemistry became increasingly frustrated in 2004 when academics (the “when I was a lad” variety”), National Tabloids (it’s “‘elf un safety gone mad” variety), and many teachers were quoting health & safety fears as the reasons not to do practical science work and demonstrations.
Every year when the day came to discuss the rules for significant figures in measurements with my classes I would write the rules on the board, we’d work through a couple examples, and I’d try to find a way to explain why we needed to use them when reporting measurements. This has never been my favorite topic to teach, mostly because I had a difficult time helping students see why these rules for measurement and reporting uncertainty were important.
Statement from the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety regarding the “Tornado Experiment” Explosion in a Science Museum in Reno, Nevada
Passion for and Dedication to Chemistry and Education The July 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/7. The July issue features a tribute to J. J. Lagowski, green chemistry principles, book recommendations for the summer, organic chemistry in action, computation chemistry experiments, resources for teaching fluorescence spectroscopy.
Facilitating the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry The June 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/6. The June issue includes articles on using the senses and esters to teach chemistry, developing student-centered activities, introducing the periodic table with puzzles, teaching visual literacy, and exploring thermochromic materials.
I was at a chemistry teacher workshop recently and we participated in a common Hess’s Law laboratory. Part of the procedure required us to measure about 2 grams of solid NaOH and add it to 100 mL of 0.5 M HCl. We also added 50 mL of 1 M NaOH solution to 50 mL of 0.5 M HCl solution. We then compared the energy change of both containers.
Toward the end of the school year we inevitably have disruptions to our normal instructional day. On one day in May, our classes were shortened to only fifteen minutes to accommodate for a series of school wide exams. On this day, I decided to choose some of my favorite chemistry-themed YouTube videos and share them with my students.
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.