Especially JCE: July 2018

July 2018 JCE cover

In the Especially JCE: June 2018 post, I gave a shout out to Black Panther, Vibranium and the Periodic Table (freely available) by Collins and Appleby, which was at that time an Articles ASAP (As Soon As Publishable). Collins had penned a ChemEd X post Connecting Black Panther’s Vibranium to the Periodic Table to share their work with Xchange readers. The article has now moved out of its ASAP status, to become part of the July 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education.

I bring it up here again because the fictional element and its article came up in conversation just last week, during the American Chemical Society (ACS) ChemClub Advisory Board meeting. Plans for the ChemClub’s program for the 2018­–2019 school year were part of the day’s brainstorming. 2019 marks the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT). Teachers at the meeting liked the idea of choosing a periodic table slot for vibranium based on the characteristics portrayed in the movie Black Panther and then justifying that choice. It would be fairly easy to do in class but would have the potential for varied discussion. Which other pop culture fictional elements could you include? The past JCE article Chemical Elements in Fantasy and Science Fiction by Ober and Krebs (available to JCE subscribers) highlights additional choices such as adamantium and dilithium.

If you plan on celebrating IYPT in your classroom next school year, JCE is rich with resources. One place to start is the October 2009 issue, which was packed with items for the periodic table theme for National Chemistry Week 2009. The issue included my paper National Chemistry Week 2009: Chemistry—It’s Elemental! JCE Resources for Chemistry and the Periodic Table (available to JCE subscribers), a categorized annotated bibliography of demos, labs, and other activities. I highly suggest you take a look, particularly at the activities related to students working on pattern making, such as Criswell’s article Mistake of Having Students Be Mendeleev for Just a Day (available to JCE subscribers) and others.

Chem Safety in Swedish Schools

Do you RAMP? The lab and chemical safety acronym RAMP has been around for some time and is one way of considering safety practices. Deanna Cullen highlighted the freely available ACS document Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety in Secondary Schools and described its organization around RAMP: Recognize the hazard, Assess the risk of the hazard, Minimize the risk of the hazard, and Prepare for emergencies.

JCE authors Schenk, Taher, and Öberg put the RAMP spotlight on Swedish schools in the article Identifying the Scope of Safety Issues and Challenges to Safety Management in Swedish Middle School and High School Chemistry Education (available to JCE subscribers). They collected extensive information from the Swedish Poisons Information Centre and Swedish Work Environment Authority as well as interviewing Swedish middle and high school chemistry teachers about their safety practices. The article discusses multiple school-related lab incidents—some of these student behaviors definitely ring a bell with me. I also saw some commonalities between Sweden and the U.S. in the article's discussion of obstacles to improved lab safety.

As the school year gets rolling, the article is a timely reminder for readers to critically examine their own safety practices. Have you found RAMP or another safety framework helpful in your classroom and laboratory?

More from the July 2018 Issue

Look to Mary Saecker’s post JCE 95.07 July 2018 Issue Highlights for the monthly round up, including articles on art, energy, and solar cells. She has also collected articles from the archives that show how chemistry comes to the movie theater and how you can use it to engage students.

What have you used from the Journal? Share! Start by submitting a contribution form, explaining you’d like to contribute to the Especially JCE column. Then, put your thoughts together in a blog post. Questions? Contact us using the ChemEd X contact form.