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JCE ChemEd Xchange provides a place for sharing information and opinions. Currently, articles, blogs and reading lists from ChemEd X contributors are listed below. We plan to include other items that the community wishes to share through their contributions to ChemEd X.

The Cautious Chemist Corner: Safety in the Classroom and Laboratory

safety

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

SAFETY

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.

Density "POGIL-Like" Activity

Although many students have been exposed to the concept of density before reaching my Chemistry class, I always start the year with this POGIL-like activity.

Time required: 

Approximately one hour including the debrief (I recommend holding a whole-class discussion for the summarizing questions that follow the What is density? activity and a selection of mathematical computation problems from the How can you calculate density? activity.)

"The Unpersuadables" by Will Storr

The Unpersuadables, by Will Storr

Journalist Will Storr provides sixteen vignettes about people who hold decidedly minority views about scientific and historical topics. Rather than just saying, "This is what these people believe, and here is why they are wrong", Storr allows each of them to tell their own story, and lets their words speak largely for themselves.

Rainbows in a Glass Density Demonstration

One day during class I presented the disappearing rainbow demonstration and explained the chemistry behind it. After doing so, I had a student ask me if a particular bartending trick called “rainbow shots” was done in a manner similar to the way the disappearing rainbow demonstration is performed.

The Interface of Art and Science

Art and Science

Toward the end of the school year we inevitably have disruptions to our normal instructional day. On one day in May, our classes were shortened to only fifteen minutes to accommodate for a series of school wide exams. On this day, I decided to choose some of my favorite chemistry-themed YouTube videos and share them with my students.