Over the past few years I have written some labs that extend the chemistry curriculum. Some very interesting concepts get left out of the syllabus in order to facilitate getting students through what they have to know for academic chemistry. The labs include one about growing crystals, another about making soap, and at least two […]

I have written an activity which walks students through a process in which, by interacting with data, they can build their own understanding about direct and inverse proportions. Here’s the link: http://kaffee.50webs.com/Science/activities/Chem/Activity.Graphing.Proportions.html

A solution has a lower vapor pressure than pure water.

Solutions Solutions are homogeneous mixtures of a solute and a solvent. More simply put, a solution is when one substance mixes with another one so well that there are no clumps where molecules of the dissolved substance are stuck together. One example is sea water, which is a complex mixture of salts dissolved in water. Also, when you […]

Here is my latest lab. I’ve pasted the text of the background into this post. The link takes you to the actual hand-out. The at-home portion of the lab involves the use of chemistry to create amazing crystalline ornaments. Happy holidays! Source: Lab: Crystals Solubility Water is a substance that is easy to take for […]

Apparently I am unusual in that I am happy to have a system of equations and a description of a set of concepts and nothing else when I am learning about a topic in science. Or perhaps I’ve just been doing this for too long. I have never really liked doing classroom simulations of real […]

This is the first in a new series of educational activities I have written for the purpose of teaching basic nuclear chemistry to my college-prep students. There are links at the top of the page to the other activities in the series. Activity: POGIL Types of Radiation.

Please use and share this inforgraphic with someone who needs to learn this material. My hope is that it will help to make it make sense. Heat and temperature are difficult concepts to understand. For example, when you add heat to boiling water it just continues to boil–its temperature does not go up. Also, if […]

Today I read Robert Krulwich’s fine blog with a post about a fascinating video about a little-noticed phenomenon. As he notes in his post, the video is made by someone with technical training but whose main occupation is not scientific storytelling, teaching, or journalism. Except for the musical soundtrack, I think the video is great. It […]

Most people buy their ice cream at the store, ready-made. On special occasions some of us still make it at home. Mostly, we do this using specially designed ice cream machines with a frozen insert to make the delicious dessert. But sometimes we use the power of salt and ice to steal the heat away […]

There are an uncountable number of news sites and news aggregators and people blogging about science news. This blog will not be about anything new. Instead I have decided to write about the things that I write about and talk about every day as a science educator. When I explain things to students I am […]