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# teaching stoichiometry

Started over 7 years ago by Loyola Pasiewicz.

Students often struggle with understanding stoichiometry. I have taught stoichiometry using both dimensional analysis and proportions.  In my experience students who struggle with algebra, also struggle with setting up the dimensional analysis, but can successful do stoichiometry using a series of proportions.  While I try to explain the benefits of dimensional analysis, I also allow students to do their stoichiometry using a series of proportions. I'm wondering if others have had similar experiences in teaching stoichiometry and if one way is better or more preferred than the other?  Or, does anyone have other suggestions for ways to teach stoich?

• Sherri Rukes

I usually try to show students many ways of doing these types of problem.  I show the factor label, ratio, the ICE table method, etc to the students and then they do a class vote on which method I will continue to use in the classroom.  However, I tell the students that any method is good for me.  The important take away is understanding why we are doing what we are doing.  The method is not important.  All methods have their pluses ad minuses, but I do notice doing the ICE table method for Stoich helps when we get to equilibrium and they do the same type of thing.  For many teachers, the only time they do factor label method is during stoich and not any other time in the course of the class.
• Julie Cox

Posted over 7 years ago

I'd ask your math department as to which they think your students would have more experience using.  Then I'd use the exact language your math teachers do. If they say "cross multiply & divide" then use that. I've found that my students see coversions & stoichiometry as just "applied math". I don't even use the term stoichiometry with students because I've never really seen the point of giving a special name to something that's just conversions. That being said I'll teach any student who is struggling with one technique (say proportions) I'll teach the other (dimensional analysis). (I've usually found in a class of 30, 25 use proportions, 3 use dimensional analysis, & 2 just don't do it).
• Mark Maurer

Posted over 7 years ago

I have found the following graphic organizer to be helpful to students. I have a more elaborate version for AP Chem.
• Kimberly Duncan

Posted over 7 years ago

Hi Loyola - You may want to check out the webinar that Kaleb Underwood presented last week: A Visual and Intuitive Approach to Stoichiometry (https://teachchemistry.org/professional-development/webinars/a-visual-and-intuitive-approach-to-stoichiometry). His presentation explained the table set up method that he uses to teach stoichiometry to his students.
• Ryan Johnson

Posted over 7 years ago