Demonstrations

Especially JCE: April 2016

In a dramatic movie trailer voice: “The Boiling Point. Gone without a trace. Or were they? The scene… a mystery. Had they disappeared? Been broken up into unrecognizable pieces? Can our hero find the answer? Or will it be too late?”

Four Ways to Fight Spring Fever

How can I engage my students (and myself) for the last half of the semester? I read recently that the human attention span in 2015 is 8.25 seconds(link is external), which is down from 2000’s 12-second span. Currently, we are just beneath goldfish, who can attend to one thought for 9 seconds. I’m not sure of the methods of the research study, and I maintain a level of healthy skepticism. However, I admit my thoughts often spring from topic to topic like a bubble gum machine bouncy ball.

The Art of the Chemical Demonstration

One of my favorite things to talk about with my colleagues is the use of lecture demonstrations in teaching. There seems to be a push in my district to stop using chemicals whenever possible and get to computer simulations and video in place of wet chemistry. I don’t think they are thrilled with me since I can’t envision ever taking the chemistry out of chemistry.

“In the Lab before Christmas” – A Chemical Demonstration and Education Show

Most chemical educators will agree that exciting demonstrations are excellent motivators to create interest in science. They are also a way to create interest in the community, motivate the student-demonstrators, and perhaps to make a little money to support special activities of an ACS Chem Club. Chemical demonstration shows, organized around holidays or other special occasions have a long and honored history.  Pacifica High School (Garden Grove, CA) took its inspiration from the lecture-demonstrations of Michael Faraday, given during the Christmas holidays of 1860-61. (The Chemical History of A Candle).

A Halloween Chemistry Show

An outline for the Halloween Chemistry Show Demonstration at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame IN, is presented. Organized by Saint Mary’s Affiliate of the American Chemical Society (SMAACS) student club, this show has become an annual event with an average attendance of over 200 people. The club’s main goal is to generate interest in the sciences among children; while stimulating a pursuit for continued education and hopefully future careers in STEM fields. The Halloween Chemistry Show aspires to that goal by providing an interactive experience for all children in attendance while presenting thought-provoking demonstrations for the entire audience.