Encouraging Words

Here in Michigan we are entering into our 4th week of school. My Honors Chemistry 1 students will be having their first test this week and my Chemistry 2 students will be having their stoichiometry test in 2 weeks. Things are moving along and I am daily observing improvement in my students. 

AACT: A Community for K–12 Teachers of Chemistry

On September 2, the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) launched its official website, loaded with lots of resources and member benefits. If you visit, you will find many great tools that K–12 teachers of chemistry can use in their classrooms; the new online periodical, Chemistry Solutions; professional development opportunities; and a community for you, in addition to many other benefits.


Physics teachers have AAPT, biology teachers have NABT, and starting this fall, chemistry teachers will have AACT. We are happy to announce that the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) will be accepting charter members starting on Aug. 4 at BCCE in Grand Rapids, Mich. But if you aren’t attending BCCE, you can join AACT by visiting on Aug. 4, and you’ll still have the status of charter member.

The Cautious Chemist Corner: Safety in the Classroom and Laboratory

Chemistry classroom accidents have been in the news too often recently. I hazard to suggest that there are smaller incidents that never make the news because there are luckily no serious injuries. We need to be vigilant in our safety concerns to protect our students and ourselves from any accidents and exposure to hazardous substances. We also need to be aware of theft concerns. Unfortunately, students may be looking for ingredients to experiment with explosives or to manufacture illicit drugs.

Cautious Chemist Corner #1

I was at a chemistry teacher workshop recently and we participated in a common Hess’s Law laboratory. Part of the procedure required us to measure about 2 grams of solid NaOH and add it to 100 mL of 0.5 M HCl. We also added 50 mL of 1 M NaOH solution to 50 mL of 0.5 M HCl solution. We then compared the energy change of both containers.

How do you teach "entropy" to high school students?

I was recently drawn to an article published ASAP in JCE entitled . Erick Castellon wrote the article highlighting the use of three toys that are used to help students develop an understanding of the second law of thermodynamics and entropy by having them observe the working of the toys and the energy transfers that occur while playing with them. I already had two of the toys, the radiometer and the drinking bird. I ordered the from the link provided in the supporting information. As I waited for the stirling engine to arrive from Japan (which was only a few days) I attempted to write an activity to guide my students to conceptual understanding as they worked with the toys.