February 2017 ChemEd X Newsletter

The February newsletter highlights just a portion of the material that has been published at ChemEd X during the past month. Whether you are exploring this new content or searching through past content for ideas related to a specific topic, we encourage you to log in and engage in the conversation. If you have tried an activity, let us know how it went. If you are not confident about something that is new to you, the authors will be happy to answer questions and coach you. If we don't have the resource you are looking for, we can solicit our ChemEd X community for help. Please use our  to communicate with us.

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. —Oliver Wendell Holmes

While the premise behind the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning framework (CER) isn’t anything new to the way science teachers already think, it provides an entirely different approach toward how students connect their experiences and previously learned content into something that is much more reflective of being scientifically literate. The author shares how he has used the framework to help his students think critically about the chemistry content they are exploring in the lab and the classroom.


Whether you are introducing collision theory or something more demanding like reaction order, the reaction between sodium thiosulfate—Na2S2O3 and hydrochloric acid can provide a consistent, accurate, and engaging opportunity for investigating these topics.


A 2L soda pop bottle is filled about one-third full with either liquid nitrogen or solid carbon dioxide (dry ice) and water. The bottle is sealed and a plastic bucket is placed on top. Do you think the liquid nitrogen or dry ice and water will make the bucket go higher? Can you explain the results using chemistry?



In this activity, students are provided a handout with a list of organic compounds (by class/functional group) and a list of mechanisms and reaction types. Small groups of students work together to create a flow chart of organic reaction pathways. 



It is becoming increasingly important for citizens to understand various concepts related to climate change and global warming. This post describes several chemical concepts that are pertinent to these issues, in the hopes that teachers of science and chemistry can introduce the topic of climate change into their classrooms and everyday discussions.


The author shares how he built a Hoffman apparatus and used it for a demonstration of the electrolysis of water. Whether you use a "store bought" version or this "home-made" version, your students can see the 2 to 1 ratio of hydrogen to oxygen gases collected.



Erica Jacobsen regularly highlights JCE articles that are of special interest to high school teachers. This month, she highlights an article about using an organic chemistry activity for outreach that is intended to make chemicals more relatable and less intimidating to the public. This can easily be adapted to a classroom. If you would like to explore the whole issue in more depth, check out Mary Saecker's .


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