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.

How Does an Orange Peel Pop a Balloon? Chemistry, of Course!

The juice from an orange peel causes a balloon to pop.  When I first saw this effect I immediately thought to myself, “what is the chemistry involved in this experiment?” After quickly searching the web, I found several claims that a compound in orange peels called limonene (Figure 1) is responsible for this effect.  Limonene is a hydrocarbon, which means that molecules of limonene are composed of only carbon and hydrogen atoms.  Limonene is responsible for the wonderful smell of oranges, and it is a liquid at room temperature.

Using Periodic Properties to Group Students for an Activity

Today in my IB Chemistry class we were reviewing the Born-Haber cycle. This has proven particularly challenging in the past so I wanted to try something a bit different and have the students review in groups. The task for each group of students was to create a visual Born-Haber cycle for potassium oxide - ignoring the math and calculations but instead focusing on each process within the cycle. I'd like to share how I grouped students using periodic properties.

The Model So Far...

I started thinking about how integral the storytelling was to the curricular choices I made in my classroom.  I realized that I had shared some of my experiences as a Modeler and a few of the activities we use in our classrooms, but I have never described the order of topics. So, this blog is titled “The Model So Far…” I hope it gives you an idea of the journey we take each year as the students uncover evidence and construct models along the way. 

JCE 92.03—March 2015 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education March 2015 Cover

Chemistry Education without Borders

The March 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online at This issue features NMR spectroscopy; chemistry teaching from an international perspective; chemistry & history; learning to think and work like a chemist; introductory laboratory experiences & experiments; the chemistry of fingerprints.

Why do we have to do chemical equations and calculations?

Fe & Sulfur reaction

(A look at workplace exposure limits found in MSDS sheets)

There is useful information in section 8 of a (Material) Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that teachers can use and shows how a knowledge of chemical equations and calculations helps protect the health of their students and themselves and helps to assure their employers and safety officers that teachers and lecturers are responsible and professional users of chemicals.