Using AACT Resources to Teach Electrochemistry

By Kim Duncan on March 24, 2016

Concepts involving electrochemistry are covered in Big Idea 3 in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework: Changes in matter involve the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons. The four learning objectives related to this topic are shown in the box on the right.

march_24_kdIn my class, I presented the concepts of galvanic and electrolytic cells after returning from spring break. It was the last ‘new’ topic that we covered before jumping into AP exam review, and students seemed receptive to the new material after having time off.

I originally introduced the concept of oxidation-reduction reactions at the beginning of the school year and then revisited it during titrations. Building on this material with galvanic and electrolytic cells allowed student to see the relationship between electrical energy and chemical reactions.

There are many different classroom activities within the AACT resource library involving oxidation-reduction reactions and electrochemistry that you can use with your students.

  • Introduce your students to the concepts of oxidation reduction reactions, electrochemistry, and the activity series with the Reactivity & Electrochemistry lab which shows students how to relate cell potential to the activity series.
  • In the Rationalizing Reduction Potential activity students will use critical thinking skills to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between thermodynamics and reduction potentials.
  • Allow students to visualize electrons traveling through a galvanic cell with the Galvanic Cell animation. Copper and zinc are depicted in the spontaneous reaction, and the importance of the salt bridge is highlighted.
  • In the Electrolysis of Water lab students will perform the electrolysis of water to understand how the process separates water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.
  • Students often struggle with the mathematical calculations of electrolysis. The Stoichiometry Set-up Method lesson plan helps students follow a series of visual cues, and use a step-by-step process for solving stoichiometry. It includes a student handout for solving electrolysis problems.

Do you have a great AP demonstration, activity, or lesson about any topics related to teaching Electrochemistry that you would like to share with the community? We are proud to feature teacher-submitted activities in the classroom resource collection. If you want to share something you use in your classroom with the community, please send it along for consideration.