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.

Harry Potter and the Elephant Toothpaste Potion

Harry Potter and the Elephant Toothpaste Potion

The “Elephant Toothpaste” experiment is a very popular, albeit messy chemistry demonstration.  To carry out this experiment, place a 250 mL graduated cylinder on something that you wouldn’t mind getting messy.  Next, add 7

What are they thinking? Where did they get that idea?

Making Thinking Visible

Have you read “Making Thinking Visible”?  You should. It focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever.  

Here is a sample activity that I adapted to fit my honor chemistry students’ needs:

Making Thinking Visible

Making Thinking Visible

This book has helped me to uncover student misconceptions and look into their thought processes regularly. A supervisor gave me the book in August, and it sat on my nightstand for several weeks.  In my mind, it was going to be another book about visual learners and strategies for using images to increase engagement. I WAS WRONG. This book is different. It is not about visual learning; it focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever. 

Lab 20 aka Check the Solution!

Last night I had the opportunity to do another lab that I wrote with my students.  It is so exciting to see something go from words on a screen to a group of students working together in a laboratory.  I learned so much as I walked around the room last night.  Here are a few highlights:

JCE 92.04—April 2015 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education April 2015 Cover

Chemists Celebrate Earth Day

The April 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available for subscribers at This issue features articles on atmospheric and environmental chemistry. Also featured in this issue are: microfluidic devices; problem solving strategies; information literacy; kinetics & thermodynamics; investigations of gases and organic synthesis; outreach.

Haber - The Father of Chemical Warfare

Haber Film

The website is a helpful resource for teachers that have interest in using the Haber video in their curriculum. Reading materials and lesson ideas are available. I recently used a lesson that my colleague created directly from the provided materials. You can check out that lesson here. The lesson included some background reading, viewing the video, participating in an excellent discussion and a follow up writing assignment.

Representing the Macroscopic, Particulate, Symbolic, & Real World Representations of Chemical Reactions.

 Last year while attending the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at GVSU I had the opportunity to hear a talk that showed a video of a chemical demonstration showing the burning of magnesium metal.  We have all seen many of these videos (thank you YouTube) and probably have performed this demo for our own students many times.  During the video it may have been represented with a chemical equation followed by the students being asked to balance the equation or maybe even predict the products.  Although the use of video including the showing of the equation nicely represents the macroscopic and symbolic representation, what was so unique about this particular video is that it also included the particulate representation embedded on top of the video of the demo.   This was the first time I had seen the particulate level representation done like that and so I was intrigued in wanting to find more of these representations.  

Periodic Table Board Game

periodic table game

This week I am on spring break. Before spring break, my honors and regular Chemistry 1 classes made it through our third unit called “Periodic Table and Periodicity.” During this unit, we take about 3 days to learn the content and another 3-4 days to practice the content (more for Chemistry 1, less for Honors). One way that I have my students review the content is by playing a board game that I recreated from an NSTA conference a few years ago. In this board game students are instructed to place words on their proper line/location (including names of families/groups and regions of the periodic table) and arrows on yellow dots pointing in the direction that that periodic trend increases (trends include: Electronegativity, Ionization Energy, and Atomic Size/Radius). Feel free to create additional periodic trend arrows depending on what you’ve covered in class.