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Articles from twitter

Doug Ragan's picture
Wed, 05/07/2014 - 23:58 -- Doug Ragan

In reference to the recent posting by Deanna Cullen and the list of where to find articles such as

  • Science/Nature
  • C & EN
  • ACS Publications
  • Others

I have found that another great resource for articles is twitter. As my classes have transitioned between units within the last few weeks we have discussed everything from graphene and how it will “revolutionize the electronics industry

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25442-make-graphene-in-your-kitchen-with-soap-and-a-blender.html?cmpid=RSS|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|online-news#.U2r6Wa1dUw8

to transparent color solar cells

http://ns.umich.edu/new/multimedia/videos/22020-transparent-color-solar-cells-fuse-energy-beauty

to name two.

I am always amazed at how students will quickly gravitate towards these topics. I mean honestly, who doesn’'t want to charge their cell phone to full capacity in minutes? The key for me is to link these articles to the chemistry that is involved and show the relevance between the article's topic and the current curriculum. The rewards however can be amazing. For instance, I had colleague approach me to ask me about grapheme because a student of mine had discussed it as a current events topic in their social studies class. On another occasion, I have presented articles only to have students come in the next day wanting to discuss everything they had gathered from their own findings on the topic themselves.

This brings me to this past weeks discussion that I had found on twitter. We are currently discussing solutions and electrolytes and I came across this posting by the Los Angeles Times @latimes, Coca-Cola says it will stop using brominated vegetable oil—a flame retardant for plastics—in Powerade drinks

http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-coca-cola-stop-flame-retardant-chemical-powerade-20140505-story.html

With Powerade full of electrolytes and still available in the pop machines within the school, my students and I were very curious as for the reason behind this change. That posting came in the afternoon. Well by that evening Dr. Joe Schwarcz @joeschwarcz had posted a response

http://blogs.mcgill.ca/oss/2014/05/05/eliminate-beverages-that-contain-brominated-vegetable-oil-yes-but-not-because-they-contain-this-additive/

again showing the power of twitter. I had a response to that article with another article that I could share with my students, which in turn led to a great class discussion. By the way, if your not familiar with Dr. Joe Schwarcz or any of the books he has authored then I recommend you follow him and check out some of his books.

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