Science Practice: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating information

The Start of Another Year.....

Chad Husting explains how he used two hands on activities to get a sense of where his students were at within the realm of labwork and the scientific process as school began. 

The Empirical Formula of Magnesium Oxide Lab: A Successful Failure, Next Steps—and an Important Lesson

Michael Jansen reflects on a very common empirical formula lab that asks students to determine the empirical formula of MgxOy. He then explains how he continues to use it as a "successful failure", how he demonstrates an alternate procedure and leads his students to an important lesson.

What do you want to know about your students' chemical thinking? Categorizing chemistry formative assessments

In order to teach chemistry effectively, we must ascertain what our students are thinking about chemistry and make a decision regarding what to do with what we learn. Formative assessment questions provide a useful lens into students' minds regarding what they are thinking about chemistry. Let us consider then, how categorizing formative assessment questions could help us plan out our classes more deliberately, in order to better design purposeful written formative assessments that align with our curricular goals. If you would like to learn more, please join us for a ChemEd X Talk about formative assessment question categories that we will be leading on Thursday May 26 at 7:00 PM EST.

NGSS-ify Alka-Seltzer Rocket Activity - With Virtual Options

In this lab students are given a film canister, a quantity of Alka Seltzer of their own choosing and any materials available in the room to investigate factors that affect the rate of reaction. They work with their groups to create CER boards and then the class engages in a Glow and Grow session. Tips for using this activity in a virtual setting are offered as well. 

Exploration of Gas Laws Using Atomsmith Online

Using the online simulation tool (Atomsmith Classroom Online) and the ADI framework students investigate the properties of gases, along with two gas laws. An ADI "whiteboard discussion" helps in getting students to really process what the results of experiments mean to us as chemists - and how this leads to expanding our understanding of matter. This activity lends itself to an online classroom.

Aqueous red cabbage extracts: More than just a pH indicator

The use of anthocyanins in red cabbage extracts as pH indicators has long been a popular classroom activity. Flowers, fruits and vegetables contain a diverse range of anthocyanins. This investigation explores further applications of plant-derived dyes including reversible reactions based on oxidation/reduction chemistry and other reactions to illustrate colour changes that are not solely dependent on pH change. By using household materials and plant dyes, this investigation may potentially be completed at home if necessary.

Airbag challenge

In the “Airbag challenge” the students are tasked with developing a safe airbag for a car company. This formative assessment explores students’ thinking about the question “How can chemical changes be controlled?” The central concept in this challenge is the application is stoichiometry. Students are expected to use the numbers of moles of reactant consumed or product formed in a balanced chemical equation and to determine the change in the number of moles of any other reactant and product. Students need to use molar mass to convert mass of a reactant or product to moles for use in stoichiometric calculations or to convert moles from stoichiometric calculations to mass. Students use the ideal gas law equation to determine the numbers of moles in a sample of gas not at standard conditions.