The Chemistry of a Family-Style Dinner – Ideas Invited!

periodic dinner

Science is creative; it requires new ideas, new patterns, and new solutions to old problems. A deep understanding of the periodic table is the most critical knowledge in chemistry. I want my students to experience the table and conceptualize its trends in a deeper way. Combining creative ideas from an AP Lit project with my honors chemistry content, I am brainstorming about a more engaging, more challenging summative assessment on periodic table families. I would love to hear your ideas and collaborate to build an exciting assessment.

How Does an Orange Peel Pop a Balloon? Chemistry, of Course!

The juice from an orange peel causes a balloon to pop.  When I first saw this effect I immediately thought to myself, “what is the chemistry involved in this experiment?” After quickly searching the web, I found several claims that a compound in orange peels called limonene (Figure 1) is responsible for this effect.  Limonene is a hydrocarbon, which means that molecules of limonene are composed of only carbon and hydrogen atoms.  Limonene is responsible for the wonderful smell of oranges, and it is a liquid at room temperature.

Using Periodic Properties to Group Students for an Activity

Today in my IB Chemistry class we were reviewing the Born-Haber cycle. This has proven particularly challenging in the past so I wanted to try something a bit different and have the students review in groups. The task for each group of students was to create a visual Born-Haber cycle for potassium oxide - ignoring the math and calculations but instead focusing on each process within the cycle. I'd like to share how I grouped students using periodic properties.

Why do we have to do chemical equations and calculations?

Fe & Sulfur reaction

(A look at workplace exposure limits found in MSDS sheets)

There is useful information in section 8 of a (Material) Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that teachers can use and shows how a knowledge of chemical equations and calculations helps protect the health of their students and themselves and helps to assure their employers and safety officers that teachers and lecturers are responsible and professional users of chemicals.