General Chemistry

General Chemistry

Moles Through Everyday Objects

You can use analogies to everyday objects and there are a variety of things you can use in that way, such as pebbles and peas to illustrate moles, because they have different masses. Certainly getting them to think about that and then to be comfortable in translating that into a whole lot of different elements you might be comparing.

Link to YouTube Video: How Big is a Mole?

Reaction Simulations

Illustrate using technology – for example, simulations to show the particles involved in reactions.

Link to YouTube Video: Five Major Chemical Reactions

Visible Limiting Reagents

Use the example of something obvious, such as reaction between two compounds, and you get 200 tons of one, and half a gram of the other one - which one is the limiting reagent, and why is it the limiting reagent? Because you run out of it before you run out of the other one. It’s something that they can imagine, something they can see. Or even in the lab, if you don't have 200 tons but one litre of one and a few milligrams of the other.

Limiting Reagents Using Sandwiches

Something you can do visually in the lecture theatre is to take in some things you wish to connect and make up an item. Or in PhET, for example, there’s a little activity you can do making sandwiches and you can work out how much you need of which one and whether you’ve got something that’s there in excess or something that’s limiting. It's based on the molar ratios or the stoichiometric coefficients, which in turn are based on the number of moles reacting. 

Pebble Demonstration for Moles

Take something into the lecture theatre, like a bag of pebbles - a whole lot that are the same size and make sure that it is visibly a kilogram (or another specified mass). Also have chickpeas or some other smaller and lighter thing. When you have a kilogram it’s really easily recognisable that there’re a lot more particles in the chick pea bag that there are in the pebble bag. You can’t show them a mole of something because it’s too many, but just use this to begin to unpack the idea that we’ve got a whole lot of tiny, tiny particles, much smaller than the ones in the demonstration.

Parallel Practicals

Run practicals in parallel with the curriculum.

Introductory and Applied Practicals

Provide more than one practical on a topic - an introductory 'this is how it works', and a second 'applied' version.

Relevance of Practicals

Choose practicals that align closely with important topics. For Example, three ways of experimentally determining a rate law - all three ways should be used in the lab.

Pre-Lab Activities

Carefully structure the pre-lab flow chart and pre-lab presentation to carefully explain all the key concepts involved.

Concentration vs Total Quantity

For a demonstration of concentration versus total quantity: get three 100 mL graduated cylinders. And put a bit of food colouring in one and maybe dilute to 10 mL. Put an equivalent amount of food colouring in another and make it up to 30 and 100 mLs. It’s the same amount of food colouring in 10 mL, 30 mL, 100 mL. What will they look like? Dark, medium and lighter. Look down the top, what will they look like? Identical. It’s the same amount of molecules absorbing, blue, or whatever colour’s being absorbed.


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