As we head back to school it is exciting to think about putting some new ideas into practice this year. As a high school chemistry teacher, my first days back are full of getting to know my students and building a safe, fun (at least sometimes!), positive learning environment.
Some students of mine and I have published two papers in the Journal of Chemical Education that describe how stunt people use chemistry to safely set themselves ablaze while filming action movie scenes. The secret behind this stunt lies in the use of superabsorbent polymer (SAP) gels. To pull off this trick...
Greg Rushton and I attended and presented at CHEMED in Waterloo July 28th through August 1st. We enjoyed the ice cream and frozen snacks at the JCE sponsored Ice Cream Social Monday evening. We presented JCE resources for AP Chemistry on Tuesday and JCE resources for General Chemistry on Wednesday. The resources and links from those meetings are linked here.
I attended and presented at the National AP Conference in Las Vegas on July 18th and 19th! Adding Inquiry to the course is one of the major changes to how we will teach AP Chemistry. I shared some resources and gave tips during my presentation. I am sharing those resource in this post. I am also sharing items that I found especially helpful from presentations that I attended and conversations I had with other teachers.
Summer is one of my favorite times as a teacher! Like most teachers I like to take a little time away from school, but, once I've rested a bit, its my favorite time to do research as well. I encourage you to take time this summer to explore labs and activities that you think may work for your classroom, but just didn't have time to examine with your busy teaching schedule.
I’d like to report on one of the end-of-year research projects that two of my general chemistry students completed during class this year. If you’d like read more about these end-of year research projects in general, click here.
Wow! A very neat experiment, called “Hydroglyphics”, published by Kim, Alvarenga, Aizenberg, and Sleeper in the Journal of Chemical Education allows you to transform a common plastic Petri dish into a unique teaching tool to demonstrate the difference between hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. Check it out in the video.
I came across a simple, yet interesting experiment that was first described by Elizabeth Sumner Walter in 2001. She merely had students pour water into a dish containing some Gobstoppers candies. I showed this experiment to some of my college chemistry students while they were working on a different laboratory experiment.