Demonstration of the iodine clock experiment

This experiment demonstrates the iodine clock reaction between iodide and persulfate ions, using thiosulfate as the ‘clock’. After some introduction details, three experiments are performed: studying the effect of concentration to determine the orders of reactants (3:01), studying the effect of temperature to determine the activation energy (7:47) and studying the effect of solvent polarity (9:42). Funding from NDLR and DIT gratefully acknowledged.

Pooling Data in the Chemistry Lab

This article considers the concept of pooling experimental data in the teaching lab. It’s a very simple but effective technique that I have used, both in low-tech and high(er)-tech versions. Some observations from my own experiences as well as some examples from the literature are presented. What is pooling data? Pooling data, in the sense I mean here, is the aggregation of all students lab data on a particular experiment in one lab session. If ten pairs of students are completing an experiment, the pooled data would consist of a table of all individual pairs’ data, together with averaged data….

Class Websites using Google Sites and Podcasting with Audacity

This presentation is a screencast of a presentation to be presented at Chem Ed Ireland 2010. It covers: what uses class websites might have overview of setting up Google Sites Example of a chemistry class website on Google Sites Uses for podcasting in education Overview of Audacity This handout accompanies the presentation. Lots more information on setting up a class website using Google Sites is available at the Becoming an eTeacher Resource. Module 5 of this resource focusses on podcasting using Audacity. Some other links are given below. Links Becoming an eTeacher – Five module resource on setting up and…

Teaching in the Laboratory: 1 – Pedagogy

Overview The post is the first of two parts of a Resource Pack that I am developing to share with practitioners like myself and is designed to provide information on teaching laboratory practicals in undergraduate science courses. In doing so it draws on the substantial amount of literature dedicated to this topic as well as innovative practices used by practising academics. It aims to provide information for readers new to practice or experienced practitioners interested in changing anything from a single practical, a suite of practicals associated with a module, right through to a change in laboratory teaching philosophy of…

Teaching Fellowship

I’ve been lucky enough to be awarded a DIT Teaching Fellowship for 2010 to 2011. The purpose of this scheme is to support members of staff to develop or evaluate a project that will support the enhancement of learning and/or curriculum development, to paraphrase DIT’s Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre (LTTC) website. In practice, that means they give you some money, funded by SIF2 (down a bit from last year though), and support from the centre. While the money is useful (although I always find it ironic when teaching awards give money to buy out teaching hours) it will be…

Cognitive considerations… in practice

I posted a summary last time of what best practice from cognitive science research preached about designing online resources. Putting it into practice threw up some interesting considerations. I’ve summarised these below in light of developing my first pre-lecture resource, as well as reflections stimulated by conversations about it with my colleague Claire. The first pre-resource is for my first lecture in introductory chemistry which is based around the structure of the atom, the main components (protons, electrons and neutrons) as derived from the Rutherford model, the notion of elements and then progresses onto a discussion of isotopes, introducing the…

Variety in Chemistry 2010

I attended the UK Variety in Chemistry Education 2010 meeting in September at Loughborough University. Variety is always a great meeting, with lots of talks from practitioners about ideas they have had and how they got on after implementing them. This is my fifth Variety, and every year I come away with useful ideas. I’ve sketched out some notes below. I think the talks presented will be available on the Physical Sciences Centre website at some stage. Keynotes Two keynote speakers gave talks at Variety. The first was my own colleague, Dr Claire Mc Donnell, who won the RSC Higher…

Book Review: Study Skills for Science Technology and Engineering Students

This review was written for the HEA Physical Sciences Centre Reviews publication, Vol 20, No. 1. The entire issue can be downloaded from their website, and my review is posted below. This book presents the topic of study skills to both students and tutors in science and engineering topics. Students are encouraged to interact with the material by considering their own personal development, which is a nice approach. There are lots of start and end of chapter activities encouraging students to think about their current approach, but future editions might benefit from a format encouraging periodic review of these questions…

500 Years of Science Infographic

This is a great way of representing the contributions to science over the course of 500 years. The chemistry line (tan coloured) begins with origins in alchemy and starts as chemistry proper with Robert Boyle, followed by Black, Cavendish, Lavoisier and Priestley. The station intersections show where one scientist had an impact on two or more disciplines – needless to say Newton is a central hub! Click on the image to access a version of the map which allows each scientist’s name to be followed through to their Wikipedia entry. To ensure you always have the latest version of the…

Interview with John Biggs

Found these on iTunesU from La Trobe University (Australia) – interviews with John Biggs (constructive alignment and problem based learning); Vaughan Prain (teaching science);  Chris Scanlan (New media for journalism students); Lorraine Ling (future of education). Nice, listenable, relatively short podcast interviews. Link to Biggs interview is here – this will open iTunes and the others are there [would like a nice iTunes embedder…?] Image Credit