Blogs

ChemEd X contributors offer their ideas and opinions on a broad spectrum of topics pertaining to chemical education.

Blogs at ChemEd X reflect the opinions of the contributors and are open to comments. Only selected contributors blog at ChemEd X. If you would like to blog regularly at ChemEd X, please use our Contribution form to request an invitation to do so from one of our editors.

picture of materials and WS
by Melissa Hemling
Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:10

A few months ago I was searching the internet, looking for a better way to teach stoichiometry to my pre-AP chemistry students. While my methods of dimensional analysis “got the job done” for most students, I would still always lose students and many lacked true understanding of what was happening in the reaction. I wanted to try something new that would promote a better chemical understanding. In my search for this elusive stoichiometry method, I came across Dena Leggett’s ChemEd X blog post entitled “Doc Save Everyone”, as well as other posts about BCA tables from Lauren Stewart, Lowell Thomson, and Larry Dukerich. 

Comments: 1
Recent activity: 1 day 2 hours ago
Chemistry Instruction for the Next Generation graphic
by Deanna Cullen
Mon, 04/24/2017 - 20:47

ChemEd X and the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE) are collaborating to offer a virtual conference like most have never seen before. It is not a webinar. You do not have to schedule specific hours to view a live presentation. I think of it as similar to a virtual book/journal club with the added benefit of having the author leading it. In this case, authors were selected from among those who have published recent articles, activities and research in JCE on the topic of student-centered instruction in chemistry. The theme of this inaugural conference is Chemistry Instruction for the Next Generation.

Recent activity: 3 days 14 hours ago
Excel file for compiling student data
by John Varine
Wed, 04/19/2017 - 16:03

To assist in grading the lab results for this and other quantitative labs that we did, I created Excel spreadsheets where the students’ results could be entered. The spreadsheet then did all the required calculations and compared the students’ results to the theoretical value. This made grading the lab reports much quicker and more accurate, flagged incorrect student calculations, allowed a much more complete discussion of the lab results and permitted “what if” questions to be discussed.

Recent activity: 1 week 1 day ago
How to Meet Students Where They Are At
by Tracy.Schloemer
Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:03

I have had a variety of students with a broad range of academic abilities in my class at once. This hook doesn’t feel particularly deep until I stop and reflect for a moment on what that looks like.

Recent activity: 18 hours 33 min ago
Image of a chemistry themed clock
by Ben Meacham
Thu, 04/13/2017 - 11:22

As many chemistry teachers know, grading lab reports can be a very time-consuming task. For me, the lab report that has required the most time to grade is a stoichiometry lab that I have been doing the past couple years. Though we do at least four “formal” lab reports each year, what makes this one different is that it involves a lot more calculations and subsequent results than any of our other labs. Regardless of how well they organized their report or wrote their conclusions, their results need to be checked for accuracy. This takes time. Even after eventually being able to generally eyeball their work, it still takes more time than I would like. So, this year I finally decided to sit down and generate a tool for me to expedite this process—the stoichiometry calculator.

Comments: 1
Recent activity: 2 weeks 2 hours ago
Laura Slocum's award certificate
by Deanna Cullen
Sat, 04/08/2017 - 15:26

The James Bryant Conant Award was established in 1965 and has had several sponsors. The award is intended to recognize, encourage, and inspire outstanding teachers of high school chemistry. It is fitting that the Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd X have established an endowment that will permanently fund the award. I think it is even more fitting that the 2017 Awardee, Laura Slocum, has a history with JCE as a precollege assistant editor from 2007 – 2011.

Recent activity: 2 weeks 4 days ago
by Chad Husting
Wed, 04/05/2017 - 06:41

The answer may be in the anecdotal evidence. The conversations between students were mini debates. “Are you sure this is correct?” “How do you know?” “What about this other data?” “Should we label that number?” “What about the energy of the particles during a phase change?” And on, and on, and on….They were having discussions between themselves that I would not have been able to elicit as a teacher.

Comments: 3
Recent activity: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Fluorescence of sunflower dye
by Tom Kuntzleman
Tue, 03/28/2017 - 08:39

The chemistry of the Sunflower dye found in McCormick’s Color from Nature food dyes is explored in this post. This is the last in a three-part series in which several experiments and demonstrations that can be done with Color from Nature food dyes are described.

Recent activity: 2 weeks 2 days ago
bread/jam
by Deanna Cullen
Wed, 03/22/2017 - 08:37

The American Chemical Society will celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2017. This year's theme is Chemistry Feeds Our World. I have gathered some resources related to food and cooking from ChemEd X in honor of the theme. I have also included links to other resources.

Recent activity: 2 weeks 2 days ago
hydrate lab
by Chad Husting
Wed, 03/22/2017 - 07:42

My students and I tend to have good experiences with a hydrate inquiry lab that I have "tweaked" (see the previous blog). Essentially, my students have some practice with hydrates in the lab and then they are provided an unknown hydrate. They must separate off the water by heating and calculate the mass of the anhydrous salt and container before they come up and put it on the scale. As an added twist, they must also ask me a question about what information they need from me to calculate the mole to mole ratio of the salt to water.

Comments: 1
Recent activity: 1 week 1 day ago