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  • Resource Feature | November 2022 Access is an AACT member benefit. Safely Introducing Students to the Chemistry Lab by Modifying a Classic Investigation

    In this article, the author discusses the common objectives of early weeks in first-year high school chemistry, such as safe lab attitudes and techniques, learning SI measurements, and communicating data and conclusions. The lab investigation highlighted in this article can be used to begin achieving all these objectives in an engaging and fun chemical reaction using a heating source with a reduced carbon footprint. The data developed gives an excellent opportunity for students to practice writing results and conclusions in the “claim, evidence, logical connection” manner taught in many secondary schools.

  • Resource Feature | May 2022 Bringing Materials Chemistry into the Teaching of Bonding

    In this article, the author explains how she incorporates topics of materials science into a chemical bonding unit. She shares several teaching resources as examples, including easy-to-use, show-and-tell style demonstrations that have had been effective at introducing students to the exciting field of material science.

  • Classroom Commentary | May 2022 Access is an AACT member benefit. Real-World Chemistry: Making Chemistry More Relatable for Students

    The article describes a teacher’s efforts to help students better understand chemistry by connecting to concepts they encounter in their everyday lives. The author shares some examples from her classroom as well as a lab for readers to try with their own students.  

  • Resource Feature | May 2022 Access is an AACT member benefit. The Wonderful World of Chemistry: A Magic Show!

    Given the value of chemistry demonstrations to learning, in 2019 the Yale Chemistry Department developed a successful outreach event called, “The Wonderful World of Chemistry: A Magic Show,” which was performed again in 2020 for students from local public schools. This hour-long lecture given by Yale Chemistry Department faculty and students was intended to introduce chemistry to upper-elementary and middle school students through a series of demonstrations. In this article, the authors provide teachers with information that will assist them in performing some of the most successful demonstrations in their own classrooms.

  • Resource Feature | March 2022 Access is an AACT member benefit. Cleaning Up the Lab

    In this article, the author discusses how the pandemic has created what might be an unobvious challenge for science teachers in many schools: a lack of custodial staff to help with keeping the lab space clean. With this in mind, she teaches her students the basics of cleaning up after a lab activity in order to make this behavior a part of their lab routine all year long.

  • Resource Feature | March 2022 The Online Summer Food Lab

    Two teachers at an independent high school share about their inaugural experience designing and teaching a two-week summer mini-course, Chemistry of Cooking. This course, among others, was designed to engage incoming students with academic material, offer an opportunity to explore a topic of interest, and help students get to know each other and their teachers before the start of the school year. The authors were excited that it was also their own opportunity to learn about food chemistry — a new chemistry topic to explore beyond the scope of the usual tenth-grade course curriculum. In this article, they share about planning and designing the course, as well as ideas for how teachers might incorporate aspects of it into a homeschool, virtual, hybrid, or in-person chemistry classroom.

  • Resource Feature | November 2021 Access is an AACT member benefit. Pigment pH Puzzles

    This article discusses an acid-base lab activity that can be completed in a virtual or in-person setting. The authors designed the lab so that students are first tasked with collecting and interpreting data. Then, using their scientific detective skills, the students determine the identity of various pigments in pH strips based on how they interact with several different solutions.

  • Resource Feature | September 2021 Access is an AACT member benefit. An Inquiry Activity: Mixture Separation Challenge

    In this article, the author shares about her use of a hands-on inquiry activity to assess students’ content knowledge. The activity tasks small groups of students with developing and conducting an experimental procedure to separate a mixture provided by the teacher. Read the article to learn more and to access the activity for use in your own classroom!

  • Nuts & Bolts | May 2021 Access is an AACT member benefit. Chemistry Experiments at Home

    In this article, a teacher shares about how she successfully completed lab experiments with students while they were learning at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. The author describes how careful planning allowed her to provide students with all the necessary materials for each lab experiment. Additionally, she explains how lab set-ups can be easily modified with substituted materials, while still providing a valuable learning experience for students.  

  • Classroom Commentary | May 2021 A Green Opportunity: Recycling Agar from Diffusion Cubes

    In this article, the author shares about a collaborative recycling opportunity that combined biology and chemistry. Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, a chemistry teacher and an AP chemistry student worked together to develop a method for recycling a large surplus of pink agar that had been collected after its use in a biology diffusion lab. The science department worked together to develop a method to reuse lab supplies and promote sustainability.

  • Resource Feature | November 2020 Access is an AACT member benefit. Creative Ways to Conduct Traditional Labs in a Homeschool Environment

    In this article, the author shares about creating meaningful lab experiences for chemistry students in a virtual homeschool environment. She discusses how she transformed a traditional lesson plan into a virtual project-based experience for students, following basic four rules. The author encourages other teachers to transform their own content for remote learning, and reassures teachers that doing so is not as difficult as one might think.

  • Resource Feature | November 2020 Access is an AACT member benefit. A Green Chemistry Guided-Inquiry Lab

    In this article, the authors share insights about how they used a guided-inquiry lab about biomimetic preen oil to expose students to the topics of green chemistry and biomimicry, topics not commonly covered in high school chemistry curricula. While preen oil occurs naturally when birds secrete it to protect their feathers, it can also be created by reacting waste cooking oil in a blue cheese slurry, with the mold Penicillium roqueforti producing methyl ketones, an important antibacterial compound. The authors discuss the implementation and results of a guided-inquiry lab in which students design, test, and evaluate their own procedure using biomimicry and green chemistry principles.

  • Nuts & Bolts | September 2020 Access is an AACT member benefit. Using Sketch Notes in the Chemistry Lab

    Sketch noting is an alternate method of flowcharting for chemistry labs. In this article, the author shares about the implementation of sketch notes in her chemistry classroom. Additionally, she highlights specific areas where she has seen improvement by her students, including student safety, laboratory skills, content knowledge, and confidence.

  • Resource Feature | March 2020 Designing a Greener Le Châtelier's Principle Lab

    Are you interested in teaching core chemistry content with safer materials? This article discusses the importance of green chemistry and features a safer replacement to traditional Le Châtelier’s Principle labs, which often use hazardous chemicals that pose a risk to students and the environment. The concepts of Le Châtelier’s Principle can be effectively demonstrated using household materials of starch, iodine, butterfly pea tea, vinegar, and baking soda.

  • Nuts & Bolts | March 2020 Access is an AACT member benefit. The Benefits of Culminating Tasks

    In this article, a teacher shares her experience implementing culminating tasks in the chemistry classroom. She shares her insight for best practices, and offers suggestions for hands-on lab experiences that can be completed at the end of a unit or a semester.

  • Resource Feature | May 2019 Access is an AACT member benefit. My Favorite Demonstrations for Teaching Chemical Reactions

    In this article, the author describes a series of seven demonstrations she uses to help students understand how to identify that a chemical reaction has occurred. Additionally, students use their observations to write word equations and formula equations.

  • Nuts & Bolts | May 2019 Access is an AACT member benefit. Addressing Scientific Literacy through a Demonstration

    A chemical demonstration can be repeatedly utilized in a curricular unit to bolster scientific literacy. A series of classroom activities in a chemistry classroom is presented to illustrate the demonstration's usefulness as a central and ongoing instructional strategy.

  • Resource Feature | March 2019 Access is an AACT member benefit. Teaching Essential Concepts … with T-Shirt Chromatography

    In this article, a teacher shares about her colorful classroom activity for teaching chromatography.

  • Resource Feature | March 2019 Magic Monday: Inspiring Students to Observe and Question in Chemistry

    The article describes the author’s use of demonstrations to spark interest and investigation in chemistry. This teaching strategy has been both valuable and popular with her students.

  • Resource Feature | September 2018 Access is an AACT member benefit. Chemistry of Lightsticks: Determination of Activation Energy, a Guided Inquiry Approach

    Lightsticks, with their eerie glow, capture the interest of students of every age. Capitalizing on this, the authors describe how they developed and used a guided inquiry approach to help students determine the activation energy of the chemiluminescent reaction in a lightstick. They also describe how they used a Vernier LabQuest 2 system, while acknowledging that any data collection system that allows simultaneous collection of data from light and temperature probes may be used instead. In addtion, they explain how they employed the natural logarithm form of the Arrhenius equation and spreadsheet software.

  • Tech Tips | May 2018 Experimenting with Electronic Lab Notebooks

    The author describes her efforts to implement and effectively use electronic notebooks to capture lab work in regular, advanced, and AP chemistry classes.

  • Resource Feature | May 2018 Access is an AACT member benefit. Embracing Chemistry in the Elementary Classroom

    This article discusses why it's important for K-5 teachers to overcome the fear of teaching chemistry, and gives some simple suggestions on how to start.

  • Classroom Commentary | March 2018 Access is an AACT member benefit. Part II: Rethinking Common Practices in High School Chemistry

    This article is Part II of a series that aims at rethinking common practices in the high school chemistry curriculum. The first article in this series was published in the November 2017 issue. This article describes the shortcomings with the “5 Reaction Types” classification scheme and provides an alternative organization to the study of chemical reactions.

  • Resource Feature | March 2018 Access is an AACT member benefit. Recasting Chemistry Labs with Forensic Themes

    This article discusses several examples of how forensic scenarios can be added to tried-and-true chemistry labs. The author also provides several example lab activities for the audience to use in their own classrooms.

  • Resource Feature | March 2018 Access is an AACT member benefit. Teaching Beyond the Cookbook

    Inquiry lab experiences provide students with a wider context for understanding the material presented in the classroom while improving student engagement and giving them a more authentic science experience. If you want to include more aspects of inquiry in your laboratory experiences, but lack the time and money to test brand new labs, this article provides specific tools and ideas for adding inquiry experiences to your own labs.