Department of Chemistry
200 University Ave. W
Canada N2L 3G1
Gingerbread mini bath bombs
Angela Swartz from the Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School in New Hamburg, ON sent in this cover photo of festive holiday bath bombs she made in the shape of mini gingerbread cookies.
Having taught chemistry for over four decades, I am confident that I know my material. I also feel that I am doing a good job and have not retired because I still enjoy what I am doing. Author: Avi Ornstein, Classical Magnet School, Hartford, Connecticut
Our Science Department enjoys planning themed activities that correspond to different holidays. Last year we decided to make bath bombs with our classes on the last day of school before the winter holiday. This is an activity that is easy to set up, can be carried out in one class period, and has minimal clean up. Author: Angela Swartz, Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School, Baden, Ontario
A tribute to Carey Bissonnette
This November issue is dedicated to Carey Bissonnette, who sadly passed away in May of this year. Many of you will remember him as the Chem 13 News Exam and Avogadro Exam coordinator as well as for his series "Tough Questions." We have included a heartfelt tribute by Bill Power, Chair of Waterloo's Department of Chemistry, a reprint of Carey's Tough Questions series, as well as tributes from readers.
Whenever I think of teaching and the underlying mission of our Chemistry department, student education, our colleague Carey was the first person I thought of. In spite of his extremely busy schedule, which included student mentoring, teaching classes, contributing to departmental topics, developing on-line learning initiatives, Carey was always there for us to share his wealth of knowledge in teaching methods and blend in the practical aspects of various approaches. Author: Chem 13 News, Chemistry Department, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
The Mendeleev Mosaic
Students, teachers, and chemistry enthusiasts from 15 countries around the world submitted 327 original portraits of Mendeleev, which were then used to create a larger mosaic portrait of Dmitri Mendeleev himself.
The Timeline of Elements interactive exhibit and Mendeleev Mosaic
Chem 13 News and the Department of Chemistry are excited to announce the unveiling of the final pieces of our Timeline of Elements Project! Both the Timeline of Elements interactive exhibit and the accompanying Mendeleev Mosaic will be highlighted during an official unveiling ceremony on October 26, 2019. Author: Victoria Van Cappellen, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
Indicator puddle art
Isobel Everest, Bedford Girls' School, Bedford, UK - also known as @crocodilechemist on Twitter - sent in this cover photo of art created with droplets of colourful indicators. Read more about how she did it, plus see more of her artwork in this month's cover art feature.
The inspiration for making pictures from droplets of chemicals first came from a Chemistry Club session at our school. Author: Isobel Everest, Bedford Girls' School, Bedford, United Kingdom
Many years ago I attended an ASM Materials Science Teachers’ Camp in Ottawa that covered polymers, ceramics, metals and composite materials. During one session they discussed how western society had lost the Roman recipe for concrete after the empire collapsed. Author: David Robinson, Toronto District Christian High School, Woodbridge, Ontario
Marbling Easter eggs, a fun themed activity to highlight polarity by Jessica Zwaschka, Spearfish, South Dakota
Doug Ragan from Hudsonville High School, Michigan captured the beauty of red fluorescing chlorophyll extracted from spinach in a 100-mL beaker.
I would like to offer some comments on two articles in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Chem 13 News, Author: Lyle Sadavoy, Toronto, Ontario
John Yohe from Pioneer Career and Technology Center (PCTC) in Shelby, Ohio shared with us on Twitter some fun photos of his student experience with The toothpaste challenge published in the September 2018 issue. Author: Jean Hein, Chem 13 News Editor, University of Waterloo, Ontario
Heat flow and temperature control are important topics in chemistry and chemical engineering. In a recent paper in Chem 13 News one of us (CM) analyzed the cooling curve of hot water in an insulated cup as an example of a first-order process. Author: Charles Marzzacco (retired), Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island and Charles Pepin, Rhode Island College, Eau Gallie High School, Melbourne, Florida
Another great cover from the chemistry classroom? It is not what you think! Thank you Vivian Templeton who teaches at Toronto District Christian High School, Woodbridge, Ontario for sending this in!
As an educator, I have really no way of knowing whether I had a marginal, moderate or profound influence on my students on a certain day — all I know is that my apparent “bad” day was likely not as bad as I thought it was, nor my supposed “good” day as enlightening for my students as I believed it to be.
The beautiful eye image on the front cover is a microscale experiment, which is a combined effort of Andres Tretiakov, Kensington Park School and Bob Worley at CLEAPSS in the United Kingdom. This “puddle chemistry”, an affectionate term for microscale reactions in drops, takes place on a liquid crystal temperature sensor.
The cover slime-stretching photo captures the result of students making their own products in our organic chemistry unit.
Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, known for his influential paintings, his ingenious use of cubism and for inventing the technique of constructed sculpture. He was an exceptional artist of his time and painted not what was admired by the world, but what he saw. He was an abstract painter, just as chemistry is a very abstract topic that comes in many shapes and explanations.
May 2018 cover
How great is it for students to get to experience working in the lab, all while creating a useful piece of lab equipment that can be used for the remainder of the school year? Within the first month of school, my 10th grade chemistry students perform a series of lab experiences. They practice techniques such as heating a test tube, reading a thermometer to the proper number of digits and — always a student favorite — making their own glass stir rod.
On reading about Rutherford’s atomic model in David C. Stone’s excellent series in the March issue, I recalled having read somewhere long ago that Rutherford did not presume to assign positive or negative charge to the nucleus.
Using the camera on her phone, Chloe Hoang, a student at Hilliard Bradley High School, Hilliard Ohio captured these glowing flowers under black light. Teachers Courtney Goodwin and Jennifer Kieffer organize monthly Chemistry Club meeting.
The purpose of this letter is to evaluate and validate the procedures described by Ford and Mason (February 2018 issue) using a microwave oven and chocolate bar to measure the speed of light.
I have been fortunate to have attended two ASM Material Camps for educators. I knew after having attended the first day of Part 1 that I would be starting my new school year with a copious amount of relevant material. The material was presented in such a manner that I could easily go back to my classes and add to my repertoire.
A Florence flask at the end of the Remsen Demonstration.
Kacey and I wrote an article about the many versions of “Slime” or “Gak” or whatever you would like to call it in Chem 13 News, October 2016. At that time, Jean Hein, editor, showed us a Canadian advisory update which expressed the potential health hazards of using borax.
The Fluorescent Chemis-tree on the front cover was created by Brian Wagner, a professor of chemistry, at the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI.
To add to the discussion on the edible candle demonstration, I have been doing it for almost four decades, catching full attention during the first week of school each year.
I want to share the story of our project to highlight the benefits and obstacles of space research with your school community. In August 2016 our high school community had their winning microgravity experiment performed on the International Space Station (ISS). This two-year initiative (SSEP) was organized at The University of Toronto Schools (UTS) in Toronto.
I have performed the edible candle demonstration for many years. (It was originally shown to me by Lee Marek.) I usually do it at the end of the first or second class, after discussing observations and doing several experiments where a similar size wax candle has been used for heating. I also use it in my chemical magic shows.
I co-instruct and coordinate an undergraduate materials and nanoscience (MNS) lab at the University of Waterloo. One experiment in 2nd year consistently stands out as my students’ favourite, and it involves the synthesis and characterization of “capped” cadmium selenide (CdSe) “quantum dots” (QDs).
In the November 2016 issue you asked about podcasts... I listened...
Davis's excellent article (Cobalt complex ions…)
This is a favourite of the students
What can you do with an iPhone and prism glasses
Noah Landiault, a grade 11 student, captured this photo during a lab on the periodic trends.
In 2015 my students and I finished a long-term, multiple month project making sort of a "stained glass" spiral periodic table. Our creation is now attached to the classroom window at Morro Bay High School.
I totally agree with Michael P. Jansen and have shared “Crossing the Rubicon” — December 2016 and January 2017 issue, Chem 13 News — with my students so they can gain his perspective.
Chris Miedema, a teacher from Ashbury College, Ottawa wowed readers with this amazing photo...
I was very surprised when I opened the November 2016 issue of Chem 13 News and flipped to pages 9 and 10. I have used Aaron Slepkov’s Message from the Mole puzzle in my classes since 1994.
Colorful flames captured the attention of our class...
I liked Lyle Sadavoy's ideas about the Elephant's Toothpaste demo (Chem 13 News, September 2016). He suggested placing the cylinder in a basin and covering the workspace with paper.
A situation common to individuals across a diverse student body is the failure to effectively erase graphite marks ingrained on paper using certain types of erasers....
A meaningful science-based activity on the last day of school before winter holidays is important.
secret Christmas message
Sarah Langlois captured the spectacular reaction between potassium and water in a series of photos. The photo on the left shows the characteristic purple flame of this reaction.
The idea of providing extra bonus credits proposed by Weaver to encourage engagement and thinking is an excellent motivator.