I always look forward to December when I can start displaying a Chemis-tree and other decorations in and outside the lab. I also enjoy sharing a different "Chemis-tree" carol each day.
Author: Mrs. Vivian Templeton, Toronto District Christian High School, Woodbridge, Ontario
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
Easter was approaching and we were finishing up a unit on bonding. Several of my students had seen a Pinterest post about dying eggs with shaving cream and pleaded, “Please do it”.
Author: Jessica Zwaschka, Spearfish High School, Spearfish, South Dakota
Recently my students had the opportunity to see how plant pigment can convert light energy into chemical energy using the Flinn activity entitled Fantastic Fluorescing Chlorophyll. Students extract chlorophyll from spinach using a solvent and a centrifuge
Author: Doug Ragan, Hudsonville High School, Hudsonville, Michigan
The unit of acids and bases is difficult for most students in Advanced Placement Chemistry. The amount of various calculations can be overwhelming. I decided it was time to make the pH calculations more exciting — acid base speed dating! Submitted by Kristen Drury, William Floyd High School, Mastic Beach, New York
When I first encountered a chemistree as a new teacher, I thought it was brilliant and naively, a new idea. I soon learned that this idea had been around forever — like so many other ideas. Last year Twitter helped me discover more chemistrees through an online competition
In order to inject as much pressure-release fun into the course for my students as I am able, I incorporate into my courses two big mole events. This allows me to celebrate the wonderful concept of the mole with both my grade 11s and grade 12s.
Are you stuck for lesson plans for this year’s Mole Day? Not planning that far ahead yet? That’s okay, we have a solution. How about having your chemistry students join the fun with other chemistry students for this year’s Molympics!
On the last day before winter break, our science classes always have a holiday activity. Last year we made a natural acid/base indicator from the red pigment in poinsettia leaves to decorate paper ornaments. This Christmas activity was modified from a Flinn Scientific ChemFax, “A Very Merry Indicator” listed as Publication No. 11062. If you decide to do this, this free-to-download activity publication has useful information.
When discussing ionic solutions, it is common for a student to ask: “How do you know how many particles an ionic compound breaks into when dissolved in water?” Students find the concept of having 1 mole of NaCl in solution, resulting in 2 moles of ions — Na+ and Cl- — difficult.
I am always looking for ideas for my Chem Club and I came across a craft article on how to etch a metal tea kettle1 using salt water. I had an extra box of roofing tins and decided to give it a try. I was able to etch Christmas designs into these metal circles. It worked beautifully.
I made a couple of pans of Rice Krispies treats, cut them up into squares and created a tasty Mole Day treat for the University of Waterloo Chemistry Department — even Mole Day grinches loved these goodies. Professors, students and staff all carefully selected an element to eat.
As a new teacher I thought that I would never be like my quirky science teacher colleagues, but after nearly 20 years of teaching chemistry, I have developed a weakness for “mole art”. I love the element of fun that mole art brings to my teaching environment.
Before your students arrive, unwrap a Snickers® candy bar and a 3 Musketeers® candy bar (any size is acceptable). Have a large, transparent container filled with water set up in the front of the classroom. Drop the two, seemingly identical, candy bars into the water and let the discussion begin.
On the last days before winter vacation, Mandy Migchels, South Huron District High School, Exeter ON had a little chemistry fun. Her grade 12 class silvered ornaments and her younger students made candle holders with cupric sulfate and pop cans.
This great chemis-tree is the result of a modified version of the elephant toothpaste demo. Deanna Cullen from Whitehall High School, Whitehall, MI sent in this fun photo. To remind readers, the elephant toothpaste is created with hydrogen peroxide (30%) mixed with liquid soap — then a catalyst, often potassium iodide, is added.
Two years ago, we had students perform this modified lab during the last day of classes before winter vacation. It is a team effort in our department, and we typically rotate between two labs, alternating each year, so that all the senior chemistry classes (grade 11 and 12) can do the same lab.
If you go to YouTube and search “milk, food colouring and detergent”, you will find lots of videos of a colourful activity aimed at the elementary school level. Typically little or no science is mentioned.
Although Halloween is celebrated in a few areas in Mexico, the traditional festivity is the Day of the Dead, which falls on November 2. Many families visit the tombs of relatives and place thousands of yellow-orange flowers named “CEMPAZUCHITL” along with other items on an offering table, called “ofrenda”.
Who doesn’t love the holidays? That time when interruptions to classes hit astronomical proportions, student learning momentum grinds to a halt and teachers search for something meaningful to do with their classes.
As chemistry teachers, we are always looking for creative ways to demonstrate that a mole is just a number. We challenge our readers to send in the most creative mole conversion you have asked of your students.
The reaction of iron(II) sulfate and silver nitrate has led to some interesting observations such as the formation of metallic silver and iron(III) sulfate/nitrate. This investigation of the reaction involves precipitation of sparingly soluble salts, formation of complex ions, conductivity measurements, filtration, centrifugation, redox and melting.
This collection of snow activities was published in the Colorado Chemistry Teacher’s Association (CCTA) newsletter in the winter of 2010. Using six stations, students investigate a variety of snow-like substances and have some fun with chemistry.