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.

Creating an Organic Chemistry Reaction Pathways Flowchart as a Unit Summary

Student generated reaction pathways flowchart

For a recent unit on organic chemistry for my IB students, I tried something new. I gave them a handout with a list of organic compounds (by class/functional group) and a list of mechanisms and reaction types. Their task (in small groups), using either butcher paper or a large whiteboard, was to create a flow chart of reaction pathways.

Time required: 

30-45 minutes

Chemical Connections to Climate Change

carbon dioxide absorbing IR light

It is becoming increasingly important for citizens to understand various concepts related to climate change and global warming. This post describes several chemical concepts that are pertinent to these issues, in the hopes that teachers of science and chemistry can introduce the topic of climate change into their classrooms and everyday discussions.

The Case of the Barking Dog

hydrogen test

To grasp the concept of oxidation and reduction reactions, I have my high school students write half reactions to show the loss and gain of electrons by the substances being oxidized and reduced. To help with this concept, I developed a quick lab activity involving the reaction between magnesium metal and dilute hydrochloric acid, which in turn led to the students collecting the hydrogen gas and then testing for its presence.

Time required: 

50 minutes

Mid-Year Reflections

concept map

It’s the end of one semester and the beginning of another. Final exam week. For the first time in my teaching career, I had my grades caught up and posted prior to the beginning of final exams. This gave me time to reflect and plan ahead.

Investigating the Effect of Concentration on Reaction Time

Concentration vs Rate of Reaction

Whether you are introducing collision theory or something more demanding like reaction order, the reaction between sodium thiosulfate—Na2S2O3 and hydrochloric acid can provide a consistent, accurate, and engaging opportunity for investigating these topics.

Building Models of Isomers

organic model kit

Students will build models of isomers while the instructor walks around from station to station to critique the models. If the model is incorrect, the students rebuild until they get it right. The paper that accompanies this assignment is very easy to grade. 

Time required: 

one 50 minute class

Hoffman Apparatus on the Go....

Hoffman apparatus

There are many places online to build a DIY Hoffman apparatus. The ACS offers an electrolysis of water lesson that includes a hand made Hoffman apparatus(link is external) as part of a unit on energy that I used as a resource. 

Misconceptions and Struggles with Double Displacement reactions and dissolving...

double displacement

Looking over my student's papers, there may have been more misconceptions created because of the way I planned the curriculum. In all of the experiments students can see and observe that not all of the crystals or material dissolves yet the water starts to conduct. In their minds there is evidence that they believe either something DOES dissolve or it does NOT. Clearly, partial dissolving is initially too much to consider.

Excellent Resource for Teaching Chemical Kinetics

AP Insight logo

Chemical kinetics is one of the five challenge areas in AP Chemistry. My students and I have been working our way through one of the teaching and learning activities called Concentration vs. Time. The graphical analysis, guided-inquiry questions, and application to past and future content are seriously challenging, and my students report higher levels of understanding than in past semesters.