inquiry-based discovery learning

Nail Bottle Demonstration in Slow Motion

The nail bottle demonstration is one that many of us have conducted in our classes. To perform this demonstration, 2 – 3 mL of ethanol is placed into a plastic bottle that has two nails punctured into opposite sides of the bottle. After stoppering the bottle, a Tesla coil is touched to one of the nails. A spark jumps from one nail to the other, which initiates the combustion of vaporized ethanol inside the bottle. We recently filmed this reaction with our high speed video camera.

Answers from Alice

This week I talked with Alice Putti who teaches Chemistry and AP Chem in West Michigan.  Below are her answers to our inquiry questions:

Q1:  How do you define inquiry? or What does inquiry look like to you?

Inquiry Interviews

This year one my goals is to use this space to talk specifically with various teachers about how they use inquiry in their chemistry classrooms.  My four questions are:

Types of Chemical Reactions

I expect that most high school chemistry teachers assign some type of laboratory related to types of chemical reactions including synthesis, decomposition, single replacement and double replacement reactions. I have used several published versions, but I am sharing my modifications. 

Trend Setter Lab

Students will proceed through a pre-lab engagement activity, organize element cards based on similarities & trends, discuss trends with the class and then produce a periodic table that includes the trends discussed within the lab.