M&M Demonstration

To emphasise the quantitative aspect of the first order decay process, you can use a demonstration on the visualizer – take 40 M&Ms and place them face up (the ‘M’ up) in a clear Tupperware container. This is the population at t=0. Ask a student volunteer to come and shake the container (gently) for 3 seconds and remove the M&Ms that are now face down – the remaining population is recorded as t1/2 on a graph.

Use ChemBytes for Balancing Equations and Stoichiometry

The ChemBytes website contains a great set of resources for teaching the basics of balancing equations and the conservation of matter.

Link to ChemBytes: Conservation of Matter

Use ChemBytes for Heat and Energy

The ChemBytes website contains a sophisticated set of learning resources for heat and energy, incorporating simulations and practice problems.

Link to ChemBytes: Heat and Energy

Use ChemBytes for Phase Changes

The ChemBytes website has a sophisticated set of learning resources for phase changes. Simulations and practice questions are included.

Link to ChemBytes: Phase Changes


Use ChemBytes for Equilibrium

The ChemBytes website has a sophisticated set of learning resources for chemical equilibrium. Simulations and practice problems are integrated to help students understand the basics.

Link to ChemBytes: Chemical Equilibria


Use ChemBytes for Aqueous Solutions

The ChemBytes website has a sophisticated set of learning objects to help students understand specific fundamental topics such as aqueous solutions. Dissolution and speciation are covered in detail with simulations and visualisations.

Link to ChemBytes: Aqueous Solutions


Test Their Understanding

When they come in I give a very simple quiz which we do using clickers, the sort of anonymous audience response systems, and I just test a few multiple choice questions, just testing their understanding of some of those terms and then when I notice that there’s, well, anything more than 10 or 15% of students who don’t correctly understand those terms then we go through a process of exploring what those terms are and why they apply to what they apply to and then I retest that a couple of weeks later....

Put Basics Online

We all spend a certain amount of our class time going through definitions and jargon and getting students up to speed with the basic area and now that’s material which I take out of the class and put online and let students read and understand that in their own time before they come to the class.

Use the Visualiser

It now does come down to the quality of the presentation in terms of what you put on the PowerPoint I suppose, cos we all use PowerPoint.  But I try most lectures to switch that off and use the visualiser and write things down by hand, where I can see that something is missing on the PowerPoint, or if I think the students haven’t got a particular message, don’t understand a reaction, don’t know about a mechanism. I’m happy to stop, go to the visualiser and write it down at the correct sort of pace, by which they can actually write it down themselves.

YouTube Demonstrations

Use YouTube demonstrations which demonstrate well (gases etc) but would be difficult to do the real demonstration in a lecture theatre.

Link to YouTube Video: Le Chatelier's Principle


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