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I was recently drawn to an article published ASAP in JCE entitled Application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics To Explain the Working of Toys. Erick Castellon wrote the article highlighting the use of three toys that are used to help students develop an understanding of the second law of thermodynamics and entropy by having them observe the working of the toys and the energy transfers that occur while playing with them. I already had two of the toys, the radiometer and the drinking bird. I ordered the stirling engine from the link provided in the supporting information. As I waited for the stirling engine to arrive from Japan (which was only a few days) I attempted to write an activity to guide my students to conceptual understanding as they worked with the toys.
Check out the answer to Chemical Riddle #2.
This month I spoke with Brian Brethauer who teaches chemistry and coaches Science Olympiad among other science activities on the west side if Michigan. Here are his responses to the 4 questions.
Q1: How do you define inquiry? What does inquiry look like to you?
A student of mine, Anthony Shepherd, and I worked together to develop a new chemical riddle. Check out the video and see if you can come up with an answer.
I am honored for the invitation to write for ChemEd X and am looking forward to being part of this collaborative chemistry teaching community! I’m Shelly Belleau, a Chemistry and Physics teacher in Colorado.
Can you solve the chemical riddle described in the video below?
I attended 5th grade camp with my son, Stevie, this week. Camp Miniwanca is a beautiful property between the vastness of Lake Michigan and a much smaller inland Stony Lake. The program is based upon the "experiential learning cycle". Small groups of campers work through a series of challenges. The counselors and chaperones allow the children to struggle, disagree and fail. Of course, success is congratulated and enjoyed. Children choose their own goals for individual challenges, so they have an opportunity to strive for their "best self" and meeting or exceeding whatever goal they have made is celebrated. Children were given many team and individual responsibilities. Every part of the day at camp had a purpose. Stevie is the youngest of my children. I have chaperoned several camps before and I attended a few as a child myself and one as an adult participant. This one was by far the best run camp I have attended. Many camps give lip service to experiential learning, but the thing that I observed at Camp Miniwanca that impressed me was there attentiveness to the entire process of the experiential learning cycle.
I’m looking forward to this year’s National Chemistry Week even more than usual. The 2014 theme “The Sweet Side of Chemistry” offers an opportunity to share the chemistry of candy, a super high-interest topic.
Here’s a great project to try with your students: build a periodic table out of Lego blocks. We did this a few years ago at Spring Arbor University, working with teachers and students from Hardin Valley Academy in Tennessee. After we built our Lego Periodic Table, we used Velcro strips to hang it on a wall on the chemistry floor of the science building on campus.