ChemEd X articles address topics in chemical education ranging across the entire spectrum of the chemical sciences.
Articles are contributed by the community and are open for comments. Please see our Contribution Guidelines for information about contributing to ChemEd X. To contribute an article, use our contribution form to describe the nature of the article you intend to submit. A ChemEd X editor will respond with further instructions.
Near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic ChemEd X began compiling a list of both new and previously published ChemEd X posts and resources that might be useful to teachers while teaching remotely. Topics include Technology & Teaching Resources, Strategies and Tips for Teaching Online, Lesson Ideas Suitable for Online Instruction and more. This list continues to grow. Readers are encouraged to check in often to find new content and to comment with additional resources that we can add to our list.
The December 2020 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: teaching during COVID-19; examining models used by students; chemical structure; game-based learning; interdisciplinary courses; teaching chemistry using plants; laboratory instruction with real-world context; fluorescence; exploring spectroscopy; thermodynamics; chemical education research; from the archives: photography.
The ACS Exams Institute is pleased to announce that new tutorial practice exams are now available for General Chemistry, (first term) and Organic Chemistry (full year).
Michael Morgan shares a lesson that he has used for many years that not only requires students to explain a topic that they have not been directly taught but also to develop explanations based on previous knowledge. He has used this lesson as a multiday “in-class” assignment and also as an “at-home” independent study. It works well in both scenarios with only minor revision. The lesson is based on Alfred Werner’s work on deducing the structures of coordination compounds.
The November 2020 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: microplastic contamination and the environment; diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect in chemistry education research and practice; teaching in the time of COVID-19; chemistry and health; service learning; using games to teach; examining structures; solubility; spectroscopy; natural products chemistry; understanding polymer chemistry; materials science; assessment; analyzing student understanding; from the archives: battery explorations.
The use of anthocyanins in red cabbage extracts as pH indicators has long been a popular classroom activity. Flowers, fruits and vegetables contain a diverse range of anthocyanins. This investigation explores further applications of plant-derived dyes including reversible reactions based on oxidation/reduction chemistry and other reactions to illustrate colour changes that are not solely dependent on pH change. By using household materials and plant dyes, this investigation may potentially be completed at home if necessary.
Many teachers have students draw models and diagrams to help them illustrate how matter behaves. Teachers can uncover and address possible misconceptions quickly using this strategy. The author describes how to create interactive particle diagram activities that are easy for students to use online. This strategy is applicable to almost any particle diagram and should be useful for teachers during virtual lessons.
In "Comparing household chemicals" students discover the effects of using different types of household chemicals and determine if they are really all so different. This formative assessment targets the question “What are the effects of using and producing different matter types?” This is important because students should understand the types of products they are using. If they are buying something that says it is a cleaner for the bathroom, why does it sometimes have the same compounds in it as a cleaner for the kitchen. If students can recognize this, then they can be better consumers and not have to buy two different products knowing that the chemicals are the same.
In the “Airbag challenge” the students are tasked with developing a safe airbag for a car company. This formative assessment explores students’ thinking about the question “How can chemical changes be controlled?” The central concept in this challenge is the application is stoichiometry. Students are expected to use the numbers of moles of reactant consumed or product formed in a balanced chemical equation and to determine the change in the number of moles of any other reactant and product. Students need to use molar mass to convert mass of a reactant or product to moles for use in stoichiometric calculations or to convert moles from stoichiometric calculations to mass. Students use the ideal gas law equation to determine the numbers of moles in a sample of gas not at standard conditions.