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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.

Bob Worley's picture

Is the MSDS Sheet a useful document for a chemistry teacher?

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 16:24 -- Bob Worley

Whenever a serious incident takes place in a school chemistry laboratory or classroom, fire and safety officers often pontificate on the incident by quoting the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). However, how many of you have read such documents in full? In UK schools we have perhaps 200 to 400 chemicals on the shelves. Have you read the MSDSs for each chemical?

Larry Dukerich's picture

Conceptual Chemistry

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 16:19 -- Larry Dukerich
BCA charts

In a recent contribution to ChemEd X "Stoichiometry is Easy", the author states that he has "vacillated over the years between using an algorithmic method, and an inquiry-based approach to teaching stoichiometry. " I would like to suggest that there is another approach to mastering stoichiometry and that it should precede the algorithmic one: it is the conceptual approach based on a particle model to represent the species involved in chemical reactions.

DAVID LICATA's picture

Stoichiometry is Easy

Sun, 11/16/2014 - 20:30 -- DAVID LICATA
Keep Calm Stoichiometry is Easy

This article describes a three week lesson plan for teaching stoichiometry using an algorithmic method. Two labs (one designed as a laboratory quiz) several cooperative learning exercises, student worksheets and guided instructional frameworks (forcing students to develop good habits in writing measures and doing problem solving) are included. The highlight of the lessons is the "chemistry carol" (based on Felix Mendelssohn's music for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") in which students recite a five-step algorithm for completing stoichiometry problems. While algorithmic processes may not always be best, I have found that there are many benefits to giving students a firm background and something to always fall back upon in one of the more challenging topics of chemistry. I believe that the good habits developed in this method of stoichiometry carry through to all the rest of their chemistry work, making it much easier to use inquiry-based methods when doing other advanced chemistry topics.

DAVID LICATA's picture

Writing Conversion Factors

Sat, 11/15/2014 - 23:01 -- DAVID LICATA
Writing Conversion Factors Preview

This worksheet is intended to be used as a "Guided Instructional Activity" (GIA). Students read a statement that gives a either a conversion factor or a pair of related measures and then write the information as two equivalent fractions ("conversion factors") and as an equality. In each representation, students are directed to give the numeral of the measure, unit, and identity of the chemical.

Time required: 

35 to 45 minutes.

Tom Kuntzleman's picture

When the Ideal Gas Law Fails

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 15:45 -- Tom Kuntzleman
bucket launch

When liquid nitrogen is placed in a sealed container, the pressure of the container increases until the container explodes. The energy released in the explosion can be used to launch a bucket high into the air. Analyzing the experiment using the ideal gas law gives results that are inconsistent with observations. Use of the van der Waals equation yields reasonable results.

Mary Saecker's picture

JCE 91.11—November 2014 Issue Highlights

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 12:07 -- Mary Saecker
Journal of Chemical Education November 2014 Cover

Engaging and Sustaining Students' Interest in Chemistry
The November 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/91/11. The November issue content includes content on water chemistry, diversity and women in science, professional development, teaching with technology, electrochemistry, and more.

DAVID LICATA's picture

Stoichiometry Guided Instructional Activities with Guide Framework

Sat, 11/08/2014 - 21:40 -- DAVID LICATA
Initial framework for use with stoichiometry GIAs

This set of three worksheets are intended to be used as collaborative "Guided Instructional Activities" (GIAs). Two students cooperate to complete the steps of a stoichiometry problem, alternately doing parts of the process as they explain what they are doing and evaluate their partner's work. These worksheets emphasize an algorothmic approach that helps students learn to think aobut the purpose of a question, organize their work, set it up so that it is easily readable and can be followed by others, and make good use of "unit analysis" (dimensional analysis).

Time required: 

Each of the activity worksheets requires 40 to 55 minutes.

DAVID LICATA's picture

Mole Conversion Guided Instructional Activities

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 23:37 -- DAVID LICATA
Mole Converstion Guided Instructional Activity Preview

The three "Guided Instructional Activities" in this activity are three cooperative learning pieces in which students are guided through the process of converting from one unit to moles (or moles to a unit) by the method of "unit analysis" (dimensional analysis). Students alternate steps in the process and evaluate the success of each step. They must do things such as writing the given information correctly, finding the correct molar mass, setting up the mathematics correctly, and determining the answer to a required number of significant figures.

Time required: 

Each of the activities requires about 40 to 55 minutes. The first one used usually takes longer, the last goes quicker.

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