Erica Jacobsen shares highlights from the March 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education.
Light is a challenging topic in chemistry. In this article, I share an outline of how I approach the content related to interactions between matter and light using activities, a simulation, demonstrations and whiteboards.
A favorite demonstration is to boil water by lowering the pressure in a bell jar using a vacuum pump. Unfortunately, purchasing a bell jar, vacuum plate, and vacuum pump can run upwards of $1,000 which poses a hardship for many teachers. Here are two simple and inexpensive demonstrations of phase equilibrium and vapor pressure.
Embracing the idea that students already create an image, create an idea, of what is happening when they observe a demonstration, lab or activity. The goal is to have the students make that model more concrete through drawing it.
Matt Vonk and Peter Bohacek have just created a handful of new chemistry activities that are based on interactive high-resolution video. These classroom-ready experiments have interactive tools so that students can perform the analysis and record data themselves. In some cases, students can even change variables.
Does flipping the classroom actually enhance students’ learning, above and beyond just incorporating collaborative activities into classroom instruction? John Moore, one of the chemistry professors at my university, the University of Wisconsin - Madison approached me with this question. We ended up conducting a research study on one of his chemistry courses.
The author discusses his thoughts on the Atomsmith Classroom Online. It is run in HTML 5, and thus no problems with Java, Flash, or any other system.
When describing abstract concepts like chemical bonding, it always seems to feel far too easy for both teachers and students to resort to the “wants” and “needs” of atoms. After all, we understand what it means to want, need, or like something, so it often feels appropriate (and easier) to use a relatable metaphor or subtly anthropomorphize these atoms to accommodate our students’ current reasoning abilities. While predicting the types of bonds that will form and the general idea behind how atoms bond can be answered correctly using such relatable phrases or ideas, the elephant in the room still in remains—do our students really understand why these atoms bond?
A few months ago I was searching the internet, looking for a better way to teach stoichiometry to my pre-AP chemistry students. While my methods of dimensional analysis “got the job done” for most students, I would still always lose students and many lacked true understanding of what was happening in the reaction. I wanted to try something new that would promote a better chemical understanding. In my search for this elusive stoichiometry method, I came across Dena Leggett’s ChemEd X blog post entitled “Doc Save Everyone”, as well as other posts about BCA tables from Lauren Stewart, Lowell Thomson, and Larry Dukerich.