In this issue:
Using an Overhead Projector for Lab Exercises
Applying Mathematics to Chemical Formulas
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Welcome to the fifth issue of Teacher Connection, a free online monthly newsletter to provide teachers with effective teaching techniques and helpful ideas and tools for explaining chemistry and mathematics concepts to students of all levels.

Using an Overhead Projector to Conduct Lab Experiments
The overhead projector is a great tool for conducting class experiments. It can work very well for younger students, quick demos to highlight a lecture point, or when the chemicals involved are too expensive or reactive to use in classroom quantities.

For example, crystals that are much too small to be visible past the first row of students can easily produce large and impressive images. Another useful application for the overhead projector is viewing chemical reactions. This is easily accomplished because beakers have a transparent bottom and when placed side-by-side on the overhead, gives the illusion that every student in the classroom is standing over the beakers with a perfect view of the results. A great classroom exercise using this approach compares the reactivity of metals with dilute hydrochloric acid. Let's say you want your students to test the reactivity of calcium, magnesium and aluminum with this acid. Place a few milliliters of the dilute HCl in each of three 100 ml beakers and align them in a row on the projector platform. Place a blank transparency sheet beneath the beakers so you can label each container. Drop a small piece of Ca metal into the first beaker. Discuss the results of the reaction with your students and have them record their observations. Repeat this process with a small piece of Mg and then Al. Ask students to provide a balanced chemical equation for each reaction. The Quantum Chemical Reactions Tutor and Balancing Chemical Equations Tutor will be very useful here. These Tutors can complete and balance the chemical equations as well as answer any question students may have about each reaction. View a demo at www.quantumsimulations.com/demo.html.

The results from this investigation will enable your students to easily list the metals in order of reactivity. On a broader scale, the results provide significant insight into the trends on the periodic chart. This classroom experiment can be done quickly, easily, and with little cleanup.

CAUTION: You may wish to place a blank transparency under the crystals or beakers to protect the overhead projector and facilitate easy clean-up. Take all recommended precautions when handling strong acids and active metals. Refer to your lab manuals and MSDS sheets regarding the proper handling of chemicals.

Applying Mathematics to Chemical Formulas
There are many ways to apply mathematics to chemical formulas and this Tutor will help your students to become proficient with each of them. Students can enter their own chemical formulas from any source. The Tutor will answer any question or illustrate any mathematical procedure dealing with topics such as counting atoms, calculating percentage compositions and determining empirical formulas. The Tutor will also teach students simple mathematical techniques that will enable them to determine a mole of any substance, convert grams to moles and convert moles to grams. Most importantly, the Tutor will teach students how to think about problems involving mathematical calculations with chemical formulas and the mole concept. View a demo at www.quantumsimulations.com/demo.html.

More Teaching Tips from Quantum coming soon!


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Al Renshaw Director, Education Programs
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