After spending the start of the year using a modified version of the Modeling Instruction curriculum (density and physical properties, followed by gas laws, followed by energy and phase changes), we don’t actually start talking about what’s inside atoms until December. I love that by this point students are already familiar with some of the habits of mind needed to reason abstractly about atoms -- thinking proportionally, explaining macroscopic observations at the particle level -- and we are ready to layer on both more abstraction and the symbolic level. By January, we are ready to explore electron configurations.
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The chemistry of the Berry dye found in McCormick's Color From Nature food colors is explored. This is part two of a three-part series in which the chemistry of McCormick's Color From Nature food colors is presented.
This week, one of my students alerted me to some mobile apps featuring chemistry. One, in particular, seems to be mostly free and incorporates a hands-on approach to conducting virtual laboratory experiments. The app is called BEAKER - Mix Chemicals and is offered by THIX on the Apple and Google Play Stores. My student demonstrated how the app works and I gotta say - it's pretty sleek.
In an effort to better understand my high school students' knowledge of what is happening during phase changes, heating curve calculations, and the ever popular can crush demo, I run them through a series of activities. First, I ask my students "What Temperature Does Water Boil At?"
Every LED light has a "band gap". Electrons are pushed into an empty orbital which is negative and then the positive end of the circuit attracts the electrons. As they go down in energy through the band gap, they emit light. The larger the band gap, the more energy, the smaller the wavelength and the closer to the "blue" end of the spectrum. So, the key is to try to control the band gap and thus control the color of light.
In a recent blog post, Ben Meacham shared his use of the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning Framework. I have started using this approach for class discussion as well, and will share some ideas and thoughts about the process.
Food chemistry is an interesting and fun class for students. Read the article for some suggestions about resources along with an outline of a unit developed around water in cooking.
Chem 101 is a FREE (for a limited time) app for any apple or android device designed to improve engagement in college chemistry courses. Although the intended audience is college level, there are modules appropriate for high school as well. Students can use the app to practice on their own, or instructors can create in-class or at home assignments.
I always find this time of year quite harrowing. I am right in the middle of academic competition season with Olympiads in physics, chemistry, biology, and math. I have science bowl and ocean bowl along with bridge building all on the same day. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Julia Winter is the 2016 Conant Award winner. She is a veteran chemistry teacher from Michigan. You can watch a video interview recorded March 2016.