second-year undergraduate

Chemical Illustrations of Flattening the Curve

With the current global COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much discussion of “flattening the curve” by social distancing. These ideas can be demonstrated chemically, for example, by the iron-catalyzed decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to produce an oxygen gas foam. Decreased hydrogen peroxide concentrations, representing decreased human population concentrations from social distancing, produce oxygen gas foam, representing cases of illness, at a slower rate. A similar demonstration can be achieved using the popular Diet Coke and Mentos experiment. These simple experiments are best used as stand-alone demonstrations.

JCE 97.03 March 2020 Issue Highlights

Developing Students’ Scientific Reasoning - The March 2020 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: nanochemistry; innovative curriculum; teaching with games; teaching with food chemistry and natural products; infrared applications; analysis using color, images, and visualization; environmental chemistry; computer-aided organic chemistry; synthesis laboratories; physical chemistry; graduate school climate assessment; chemical education research: introductory chemistry and student success.

A Multi-Colored Equilibrium Experiment

Solutions of copper (II) dissolved in acetone are easy to prepare, and can display orange, yellow, green, and blue color depending upon conditions. Such solutions allow for a variety of demonstrations and experiments that illustrate principles of chemical equilibrium. 

Assessing the Assessors

A lot of time is spent assessing students but how much time is spent assessing ourselves and our peers? Some faculty take departmental evaluations seriously and professionally while others prefer not to for a variety of reasons. What happens when a faculty member introduces evaluation guidelines into a department that had none previously? Read and find out.

Teacher Leadership

Have you heard that TERC, a nonprofit, has launched a STEM Teacher Leadership Network funded by the National Science Foundation? The online community is for  aspiring or current teacher leaders, researchers and administration to improve STEM education, effect policy and discuss the changes to the future of STEM education in a collaborative online collegial network.

The Chemical Laser Show

Chemistry and lasers can be used to create a demonstration that includes several colors and flashing lights. This demonstration connects to topics in quantum chemistry and phase changes.

Chemical Kinetics with a Smartphone

This experiment in chemical kinetics can be conducted using materials as simple as a smartphone, hydrogen peroxide, sodium carbonate solution, and blue food dye! The experiment is useful when discussing the order of rate laws with respect to reactants.

Flipped Classroom: Advantages and Challenges

The flipped classroom of today looks vastly different from its initial form. Originally, class time was primarily used to complete homework assignments; however, more effective active learning practices tend to dominate class time in modern applications of the model. Although the flipped classroom has improved over the years, several challenges persist.

On-line Chemistry Courses - Maybe?

Want to heat up a department meeting? Just propose that all courses have an on-line option and watch as some colleagues have strong opinions about it- be it on one side or the other. What overlooked component can be distilled from a normal in-person course into an online that could have a significant impact? Perhaps the face-to-face “live” interaction.