The IB Learner Profile 2 (Knowledgeable)

Knowledgeable - like most statements in the learner profile, this has obvious and not so obvious parts associated with it. Yes, we (teachers) and our students are knowledgeable about the subject material (admittedly, some parts we are more knowledgeable on than others!) but knowledgeable goes deeper than this. Knowledgeable is when we know what labs will work well and what won't work well. We know the pitfalls and mistakes people make and are able to pass this onto our students to stop ...

Google and Bunsen

Chances are you will have used google today .... and chances are you will have seen the traditional google logo replaced with a bunsen burner, kettle, test tubes and so on. Somehow (and I am still trying to figure out how to do this!) you can get the 'google bunsen logo' to turn into an animation, as the following youtube clip shows. yPJ3JUUwhA8 For more information on Robert Bunsen, click here to read the related wikipedia article on him.

Molecular pistons and redox

A redox reaction has been used to move a molecular piston back and forth. It is hoped that this will allow nanomachines to make use of it. The piston works with a man made molecule called a rotaxne. The rotaxne is a liner molecule with a napthalene complex at one end and sulfur containing group at the other end. The sliding part of the piston is made of six carbon rings, joined to form a hooped shaped positively charged ion. By ...

Combustion kept simple

When teaching about combustion, we must remember to consider 'complete' and 'incomplete' combustion. During complete combustion, the fuel will produce CO2 and H2O. Incomplete combustion produces CO or C (soot). A neat way of showing this to your class is to just use a bunsen burner. With the air hole closed, explain that the smoky, yellow flame is caused by incomplete combustion - the soot can be collected by placing a cool beaker of water under the flame. Opening the air hole allows complete ...

Mars mix up and data quality

Do you trust the temperature reading on your thermometer? How important is it to us that equipment records the 'correct data'? You may remember a few years ago (six and a half) that NASA landed a couple of robots on Mars - Opportunity and Spirit. Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NASA_Mars_Rover.jpg The rovers were scheduled to last for a 90 day misson - well, amazingly, they are still working - although Spirit is stuck in sand and hopes are fading for ...

Water (5)

Tuesday was World Water Day 2011 and the theme for this year was ‘Water for Cities’. The theme for this weeks blogs posts will therefore be all about water. So far, we have been focusing on the fact that water has a much higher boiling point than is predicted and that the reason could be pinned down to electronegativity.   Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3D_model_hydrogen_bonds_in_water.jpg You may also remember that yesterday I posted a question asking: ‘What causes electronegativity?’ Well, electronegativity is caused by ...

Water (4)

Tuesday was World Water Day 2011 and the theme for this year was ‘Water for Cities’. The theme for this weeks blogs posts will therefore be all about water. So far, we have been focussing on the fact that water has a much higher boiling point than is prediced and that the reason could be pinned down to the hydrogen bond. By Bidgee (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  You may also remember that yesterday I posted a question asking: 'How ...

Water (3)

Yesterday was World Water Day 2011 and the theme for this year is ‘Water for Cities’. The theme for this weeks blogs posts will therefore be all about water. You may also remember that yesterday I posted a question asking: 'What causes water to have a much higher boiling point than expected?' And the answer ...... Well, it is the hydrogen bond - the same intermolecular bond that holds your DNA together. How does this (relatively) strong bond come to exist? What causes it? Where ...

Water (2)

Today is World Water Day 2011 and the theme for this year is 'Water for Cities'. The theme for this weeks blogs posts will therefore be all about water. Water, dihydrogen monoxide, oxy-dihydride - what ever you call it, it means the same thing - water (H2O). Water is special to us for all sorts of reasons ... Image kindly reproduced accoding to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Liquid-water-and-ice.png ... but from the chemistry point of view I feel that the most important property of ...

Water

Tomorrow is World Water Day and the theme for this year is 'Water for Cities'. The theme for this week will therefore be water. You may have seen the spoof videos 'Look Around' on youtube. If not, watch the video below. Please don't try any of the experiments shown!! As a class exercise, it is sometimes interesting to show a video like this and ask the students to note all the inaccurate science in the video. It can be quite interesting comparing what students get ...