April 2019 Xchange

Dear Readers,

What are you doing this summer? Looking for PD opportunities? is one of the best professional development opportunities that I have attended. Many call it their Chem-cation! If you have never attended, this will be a great year to start! You will return home with a toolbox full of ideas, strategies and inspiration. Check out their site... ends April 15th. You won't be disappointed!

For now, I hope you will check out the fantastic content that has been published here on ChemEd X over the past month!

Cheers to Spring!




In honor of the International Year of the Periodic Table: A familiarity with the chemistry of some of the elements more commonly encountered in everyday life is a valuable learning experience for all students. Oxygen is the second in this series of elements to be discussed as part of the Element of the Month program.



This is a fantastic way to celebrate the birthday of the periodic table of elements! There is still time to get involved and create an element to include when it is put together at a spectacular event October 19, on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI. Extended Deadline!


This post is the second installment in a series called “SBG Hacks". In this part, Lauren Stewart explains the automated reassessment system she uses in her standards based grading classroom. 


Melissa Hemling says her experience with the National Board Certification process was much like a Hero’s Journey plotline used in popular movies like Star Wars


In a freshman Chemistry laboratory course at Nicholls State University, tutorials (with embedded quizzes) are used as pre-lab assignments. The text and graphical information provide a sufficient basis to answer all the questions, but YouTube videos are embedded for students who may need additional help. 


Did you know there is a simple test you can do to see if an alkaline battery is fresh or dead? All you need to do is bounce the bottom of a battery onto a hard, flat surface. Guess what causes this difference in bouncing ability between fresh and dead batteries? Tom Kuntzleman tells us "Chemistry, of course!" 

The perfect follow up to reading about this experiment?  (Lyrics/Song/Video) 


A common topic in chemistry discussion groups and forums is about the use of the terms “spontaneous reaction” versus “thermodynamic favorability”. This is a new activity for chemistry students who struggle with the correlation between changes in enthalpy, temperature, entropy, and the Gibbs free energy of a system; which relies on an analogy that most students will be familiar with.


Atomic theory is a common topic throughout any introductory chemistry course. It is likely that Rutherford’s gold foil experiment gets at least some attention in your course. Ben Meacham shares an activity that gives students an opportunity to replicate Rutherford’s experiment through an "analogy experiment" that may allow for easier conceptualization of the experiment itself and provide additional support for model development.


Developing pedagogical content knowledge requires a certain level of subject matter knowledge, and teachers have a different understanding of subject matter than a person who specializes in that same field. A chemistry teacher and a ‘practicing’ chemist both have subject matter knowledge in chemistry; however, the knowledge is applied differently.


The April 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Be sure to check out Mary Saecker’s round-up of the whole April issue along with related articles from the archives.


We hope you enjoy the content mentioned here and other content at ChemEd X. If you find ChemEd X content useful, please consider  to help support ChemEd X using our online store. In addition to supporting the free content we make available, you will also get access to our complete  and to help in teaching and learning chemistry. If you would like to contribute content, begin with the . For other questions or comments, please use our .