JCE 97.11 November 2020 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education November 2020 Cover

Teaching Context-Based Chemistry

The November 2020 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: microplastic contamination and the environment; diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect in chemistry education research and practice; teaching in the time of COVID-19; chemistry and health; service learning; using games to teach; examining structures; solubility; spectroscopy; natural products chemistry; understanding polymer chemistry; materials science; assessment; analyzing student understanding; from the archives: battery explorations.

Cover: Identification of Microplastic Contamination

Microplastics, plastic particles <5 mm in size, pose an environmental threat to ocean ecosystems. In Inexpensive Adaptations of Basic Microscopes for the Identification of Microplastic Contamination Using Polarization and Nile Red Fluorescence Detection, Amelia B. Labbe, Clive R. Bagshaw, and Lisa Uttal describe low-cost techniques for microplastic identification as part of a plankton monitoring program. The procedures are appropriate for any school, college, or community scientist with access to a simple bright-field microscope. The physical organic chemistry underlying the techniques provides topical discussion for undergraduate classes. The cover depicts control plastic fragments that fluoresce when stained with Nile Red and appear bright when viewed under crossed polarizing filters. Observing microplastics firsthand is critical in understanding the prevalence of microplastics in ocean waters.

Other papers in this issue with a focus on the environment include:

On-Site Monitoring Indoor Air Quality in Schools: A Real-World Investigation to Engage High School Science Students ~ Elisa Zagatti, Mara Russo, and Maria Chiara Pietrogrande

Decontamination of Wastewater Using Activated Biochar from Agricultural Waste: A Practical Experiment for Environmental Sciences Students ~ José Carlos Arrebola, Nuria Rodríguez-Fernández, and Álvaro Caballero

Beyond Green Chemistry: Teaching Social Justice in Organic Chemistry ~ Zesean M. Ali, Varik H. Harris, and Rebecca L. LaLonde

Promoting Education for Sustainable Development with an Interactive Digital Learning Companion Students Use to Perform Collaborative Phosphorus Recovery Experiments and Reporting ~ Johann Seibert, Isabel Schmoll, Christopher W. M. Kay, and Johannes Huwer

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect in Chemistry Education Research and Practice

This issue announces an open invitation for a Special Issue on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect in Chemistry Education Research and Practice, with a deadline April 12, 2021. The guest editors for this issue are Leyte L. Winfield, Zakiya S. Wilson-Kennedy, Florastina Payton-Stewart, Jennifer Nielson, Ann C. Kimble-Hill, and Edgar A. Arriaga. 

In this issue, Dylan P. Williams and Khalku Karim discuss Inspirational Chemists: A Student Conference Activity to Raise Awareness of Diversity and Inclusion in the Chemical Sciences.  


In Refocusing Outcome Expectations for Secondary and Postsecondary Chemistry Classrooms, Sarah B. Boesdorfer and Dawn I. Del Carlo "argue that the expectation of introductory secondary chemistry as a prerequisite course to prepare students for college chemistry is a misguided connection that does not foster successful student learning in either course".

Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

Incorporating Technology Tools and the 5E Instructional Model to Teach High School Students Chemistry by Online Instruction ~ Tina Ohn-Sabatello

Interactions 500: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Hybrid Board Game for Aiding Students in the Review of Intermolecular Forces During the COVID-19 Pandemic ~ José Nunes da Silva Júnior, José Mariano de Sousa Oliveira, Jean-Yves Winum, Antonio José Melo Leite Junior, Francisco Serra Oliveira Alexandre, David Macedo do Nascimento, Ulisses Silva de Sousa, Antônia Torres Ávila Pimenta, and André Jalles Monteiro

Creating a Confident and Curious Cohort: The Effect of Video-Led Instructions on Teaching First-Year Chemical Engineering Laboratories ~ James Campbell, Andrew Macey, Wenqian Chen, Umang V. Shah, and Clemens Brechtelsbauer

Adapting Interactive Interview Tasks to Remote Data Collection: Human Subjects Research That Requires Annotations and Manipulations of Chemical Structures During the COVID-19 Pandemic ~ Courtney J. Chatha and Stacey Lowery Bretz

Chemistry and Health

The Science of Human Health—A Context-Based Chemistry Course for Non-Science Majors Incorporating Systems Thinking ~ David Armstrong and Judith C. Poë (available to non-subscribers as part of ACS Editors’ Choice program)

“The Chemistry of Poisons”: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Integrating Chemical, Toxicological, and Medicinal Principles ~ Daniel Austin and Alison J. Frontier

Involving Students in the Distributed Pharmaceutical Analysis Laboratory: A Citizen-Science Project to Evaluate Global Medicine Quality ~ Sarah L. Bliese, Margaret Berta, and Marya Lieberman

Service Learning

Increasing Student Interest and Self-Efficacy in STEM by Offering a Service-Learning Chemistry Course in New Orleans ~ Emily Schmidt, Ryan Vik, Benjamin W. Brubaker, Sienna S. Abdulahad, Diana K. Soto-Olson, Tia A. Monjure, Cooper H. Battle, and Janarthanan Jayawickramarajah

Chemistry Discovery: A Service-Learning Outreach Course Produces a Workshop Series for Middle-School Students ~ Elisa Tomat

Using Games To Teach

Intermolecular Forces Game: Using a Card Game to Engage Students in Reviewing Intermolecular Forces and Their Relationship to Boiling Points ~ Luke Nambi Mohanam and Amanda J. Holton

Orbital Battleship: A Multiplayer Guessing Game in Immersive Virtual Reality ~ Anastasia Rychkova, Alexey Korotkikh, Andrey Mironov, Artem Smolin, Nadezhda Maksimenko, and Mikhail Kurushkin

Examining Structures

Using Magnet-Embedded Silicone Balls to Construct Stable Models for Close-Packed Crystal Structures ~ Yan-Zi Ma, Zhan-Lan Yang, Yan Wang, Hai-Hong Wang, and Shu Jian Tian

Real-Time Interactive Simulation and Visualization of Organic Molecules ~ Heta A. Gandhi, Sebastian Jakymiw, Rainier Barrett, Harshita Mahaseth, and Andrew D. White

Structural Insights into tRNA via Hypochromism ~ Emily R. Mowrer and Jeffrey P. Potratz


Effect of Temperature in Experiments Involving Carbonated Beverages ~ Thomas S. Kuntzleman and Andrea Sturgis

Project-Based Experiment in a Physical Chemistry Teaching Laboratory: Ion Effects on Caffeine Partitioning Thermodynamics ~ Bradley A. Rogers and Yanjie Zhang


Techniques to Make Your Atomic Emission Demonstration Unforgettable: The Jacob’s Ladder Arc ~ Gletwyn R. Rubidge

Exploring Emission and Absorption Spectroscopy in the First-Year General Chemistry Laboratory ~ Seth M. Barrett, Paul S. Szalay, Lois Anne Zook-Gerdau, and Eric J. Schurter

Natural Products Chemistry

Demonstrating Purple Color Development to Students by Showing the Highly Visual Effects of Aluminum Ions and pH on Aqueous Anthocyanin Solutions ~ Daisuke Kajiya

GC-FID Analysis to Evaluate the Possible Adulteration of Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Different Vegetable Oils ~ Francesco Siano and Ermanno Vasca

Practical Applications of Organic Chemistry: Improving Student Knowledge of GC–MS through Qualitative Analysis of Nicotine in Electronic Cigarette Vapors ~ Parth H. Patel, Kristofer L. Conrad, Anuradha L. Pathiranage, and Leslie A. Hiatt

Modification and Optimization of a Two-Step Oxidation-Oxime Experiment for Sophomore-Level Laboratory Course ~ Abha Verma and Navneet Goyal

Transmutation of Scent: An Evaluation of the Synthesis of Methyl Cinnamate, a Commercial Fragrance, via a Fischer Esterification for the Second-Year Organic Laboratory ~ Jacob H. Steele, Marie X. Bozor, and Gregory R. Boyce

Understanding the Uniqueness of Artocarpus Flavonoids: Isolation and Structure Elucidation of Cycloartocarpin from the Roots of Artocarpus altilis ~ Aliefman Hakim, A. Wahab Jufri, Jamaluddin, Supriadi, and Putri Ayu Mutmainnah

Understanding Polymer Chemistry

ChemEscape, Polymer Chemistry: Solving Interactive Puzzles Featuring Scaffolded Learning to Promote Student Understanding of Polymers and Structure–Property Relationships ~ Brian C. T. Gilbert, Marissa L. Clapson, and Amanda Musgrove

What Does a Brain Feel Like? ~ Zhengchu Tan, James P. Ewen, Antonio E. Forte, Stefano Galvan, Elena De Momi, Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena, and Daniele Dini

Synthesis of PCL–PEG–PCL Triblock Copolymer via Organocatalytic Ring-Opening Polymerization and Its Application as an Injectable Hydrogel—An Interdisciplinary Learning Trial ~ Kaiting Wu, Lin Yu, and Jiandong Ding

Materials Science

Facile Synthesis of a Metal–Organic Framework for Removal of Methyl Blue from Water: First-Year Undergraduate Teaching Lab ~ Youdong Cheng, Dongchen Shi, Yi Di Yuan, and Dan Zhao

Synthesis, Characterization, and Property Investigation of a Metal–Organic Framework Encapsulated Polyoxometalate Guests: An Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Experiment ~ Min Yuan, Chun-Yan Sun, Yi-Wei Liu, Ying Lu, Zhong Zhang, Xiao-Hui Li, Hong-Rui Tian, Shan Zhang, and Shu-Xia Liu

Nanoparticles for Undergraduates: Creation, Characterization, and Catalysis ~ Jyah Strachan, Christopher Barnett, Thomas Maschmeyer, Anthony F. Masters, Alice Motion, and Alexander K. L. Yuen


Results of a Peer Review Activity in an Organic Chemistry Laboratory Course for Undergraduates ~ Andrea Basso

Use of Kahoot for Assessment in Chemistry Education: A Comparative Study ~ Javier Murciano-Calles

Analyzing Student Understanding

Developing Computer Resources to Automate Analysis of Students’ Explanations of London Dispersion Forces ~ Keenan Noyes, Robert L. McKay, Matthew Neumann, Kevin C. Haudek, and Melanie M. Cooper

Undergraduate Students’ Understanding of Surface Tension Considering Molecular Area ~ Chulkyu Park, Chang Youn Lee, and Hun-Gi Hong

Analyzing Students’ Construction of Graphical Models: How Does Reaction Rate Change Over Time? ~ Jon-Marc G. Rodriguez, A. Rayford Harrison, and Nicole M. Becker

From the Archives: Battery Explorations

This issue includes All Roads Lead to Rome: Triple Stoichiometry with a Lithium Battery by Violeta A. Martínez and Jorge G. Ibanez. This activity allows students to visualize how to obtain different stoichiometries with various techniques in a single experiment. Other innovative activities using batteries include:

Microscale Electrolysis Using Coin-Type Lithium Batteries and Filter Paper ~ Masahiro Kamata and Seiko Yajima

Exploring Real-World Applications of Electrochemistry by Constructing a Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery ~ Franklin D. R. Maharaj, Wanxin Wu, Yiwei Zhou, Logan T. Schwanz, and Michael P. Marshak

Connecting Theory to Life: Learning Greener Electrochemistry by Taking Apart a Common Battery ~ Clarissa Keen, Steven Couture, Nayer Abd El Meseh, and Hannah Sevian

An Easy-To-Assemble Three-Part Galvanic Cell ~ Per-Odd Eggen and Brit Skaugrud

The Building Blocks of Battery Technology: Using Modified Tower Block Game Sets to Explain and Aid the Understanding of Rechargeable Li-Ion Batteries ~ E. H. Driscoll, E. C. Hayward, R. Patchett, P. A. Anderson, and P. R. Slater (available to non-subscribers as part of ACS AuthorChoice program)

JCE: A Steady Source of Ideas 

Even in these times of disruption, there are always ideas for teaching and learning  chemistry in the 97 volumes of the Journal of Chemical Education —including the November 2020 issue described above. Articles that are edited and published online ahead of print (ASAP—As Soon As Publishable) are also available. (For more information on how to access the  articles cited above, see Deanna Cullen’s post on Accessing Cited Articles.)

Do you have something to share? Write it up for the Journal! In particular, consider submitting to the special issue of JCE on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect in Chemistry Education Research and Practice (deadline is April 12, 2021).

Erica Jacobsen’s Commentary continues to provide excellent advice about becoming an author. In addition, numerous author resources are available on JCE’s ACS website, including the Author Guidelines and Document Templates. The ACS Publishing Center also has resources for preparing and reviewing manuscripts for ACS journals.