JCE ChemEd Xchange provides a place for sharing information and opinions. Currently, articles, blogs and reading lists from ChemEd X contributors are listed below. We plan to include other items that the community wishes to share through their contributions to ChemEd X.

What do you do for AP Chemistry review?

ap exam date May 2

It’s review season for AP courses! I have a love/hate relationship with the date of the AP Chemistry exam. On one hand, it’s SO early. On the other hand, because it’s the first exam, my students actually study for it (compared to later in the AP exam season when students are like, “I’m done. I don’t care anymore.”).

A different way to look at heat and energy....

energy bar charts

Each year we work on specific heat of materials and the heat of fusion of ice. These are two labs that are typical for most chemistry classrooms. Most of the experiments involve a simple calorimetry experiment that uses a styrofoam cup and provides generally good results. There tend to be a couple of key ideas with all of these experiments.

Use Your Smartphone as an "Absorption Spectrophotometer"

Smartphone spectrophotometer

Learn a simple and very inexpensive way to build and use an "absorption spectrometer" using a smartphone. This is a great way to implement Beer's Law experiments in your classroom!

Catching a Wave, by Brian Greene

Smithsonian April 2013

Scientists are sitting on top of the world after detecting gravitational waves for the first time.  Now what?

Coding in Chemistry


Computer coding has been getting a lot of attention with the Hour of Code movement and President Obama’s recent “Computer Science for All” initiative. Just like it is no longer solely the job of the English teacher to teach language and communication skills, it is no longer solely the job of the computer science teacher to teach programming skills.

Not All Periodic Tables are the Same?

periodic table apps

Upon sharing my array of apps with some future chemistry teachers, they asked why so many Periodic Tables? My response was “Well not all periodic tables are the same”, upon which was followed by several blank stares...Let me explain: I currently have the following periodic table apps loaded on my iPad...

Tell Me a Story

Tell me a story

Just as our lives and various circumstances have a story, so do our laboratory experiences. Often the labs we do lack context but we expect students to buy in to the experiment without knowing the what, where, or why of the story. What makes this lab worth doing? What question(s) are we trying to answer? Why was someone exploring this in the first place?

Self-Healing Concrete

Typically we think that the wear and tear of automobiles on the roads causes concrete roads to deteriorate, eventually causing potholes and requiring the use of patching. Regular maintenance, like patching, gets expensive over time. If we were to zoom in on a microscopic level we’d see microscopic cracks that allow in water, salts, and ice. Since ice has the ability to expand, the tiny little cracks will become big noticeable cracks.

Spring Fever, Stoichiometry and Specific Heat


From the looks of things, we are all in the same boat. Spring fever. I had two groups of students. Both are ending 3rd quarter, looking out a window at the first nice weather we have had in weeks. Most are already planning their spring break vacation and some have left early. Notice, not much talk about chemistry. The curriculum said it was time for stoichiometry for one group and specific heat for another. Just what the kids wanted to do (read with sarcasm).