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.

New Year, New Format

Happy New Year! For many, the beginning of a new year involves creating resolutions. And, hopefully not quitting them! Something I have resolved to do is modify the presentation and submission of lab reports.

Liquid Nitrogen, Gas Laws and Rocket Science

Liquid nitrogen rocket

The “bucket launch” is a fantastic experiment you can do if you have access to liquid nitrogen. Depending upon conditions, we have observed the bucket to launch anywhere from 80 to 160 feet high. See the video.

A Chemist Celebrates the International Year of Light

How to make a better glow stick


Happy New Year!  Did you know that 2015 is the International Year of Light (IYL)? IYL is a “global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health1”.  IYL is sponsored by several organizations with interests in science and science education, including the European Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics.  You can find several lesson plans, videos and other educational resources on the IYL website2. 

JCE 91.12—December 2014 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education December 2015

Celebrating the International Year of Crystallography The December 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available for subscribers online at The December issue includes content on: crystallography, assessment, career development for undergraduates, problem solving in organic chemistry, and teaching physical chemistry. This latest issue of JCE plus the content of all past issues, volumes 1 through 91, are available at

Observing a Chemical Reaction (NGSS Modified)

In a recent post, I indicated that I would make available the Chemical Reactions lab that I modified to meet NGSS guidelines. Enjoy!

Time required: 

2 53-minute class periods (about 2/3 of each class were used).

NGSS Update #2

Happy December ChemEdX community! On December 2, 2014 I attended the second of three workshops on NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) through our local ISD (in Kalamazoo County it is known as KRESA).

A Simple, yet Dramatic Chemistry Experiment with Ping Pong Balls

Burning guncotton (right)

Cellulose nitrate (also known as nitrocellulose or guncotton) is a very flammable substance that is formed by reacting cellulose (also known as dietary fiber) with a mixture of concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids:

Is the MSDS Sheet a useful document for a chemistry teacher?

Whenever a serious incident takes place in a school chemistry laboratory or classroom, fire and safety officers often pontificate on the incident by quoting the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). However, how many of you have read such documents in full? In UK schools we have perhaps 200 to 400 chemicals on the shelves. Have you read the MSDSs for each chemical?

The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements

Periodic table

TV and movie screens today offer us a desperate fight against crazy-fast zombies, a peek into celebrities’ lives where truth is often stranger than fiction, million-dollar game shows, and more. Can portraits of science compete?