Blogs

Laser-Cutting CDs into Snowflakes

Laser cutters can be used to cut and engrave a variety of thin materials. Compact discs, composed of layers of polycarbonate plastic and aluminum metal, were explored for their ability to be shaped with a laser cutter. The laser can successfully cut and engrave the compact discs into the shape of snowflake. However, each disc must first be coated with a material like glue in order to protect the plastic from discoloration and the byproducts from cutting the plastic that can accumulate on the disc surface.  

Upgrading a Classic Science Demonstration

In a classic demonstration of energy conservation, smashing two large steel ball bearings generates sufficient heat to burn a hole through a piece of paper. Josh Kenney found this demonstration underwhelming because the paper doesn't look burned. So, he upgraded the experiment by covering the paper in Elmer's Color Changing Glue. Now, a spectacular color change reveals the increase in heat!

How to Use TikTok and YouTube Shorts in Your Chemistry Class

TikTok and YouTube Shorts are video sharing platforms for short-form, vertical aspect videos. Both of these services are growing more quickly in popularity compared to more traditional video formats. Josh Kenney shares some of the ways that he is using short-form videos in his chemistry class and shares a free resource (an exam review worksheet that links to a YouTube Shorts playlist through a QR code).

Hatching Ideas to use Egg Cartons to Represent Electron Arrangements

Egg cartons and small objects such as milk jug caps or plastic eggs can be used to illustrate chemical concepts. The egg cartons can be cut into trays to represent atoms or to represent energy levels associated with atomic orbitals. The plastic caps or eggs distributed among the dimples of the trays can be used to represent electrons or pairs of electrons.