Hack Your Taste Buds with Toothpaste

Ever been in this situation? You’re ready to head out the door—teeth brushed, hair styled, favorite clothes on, but grab one last swig of o.j. on your way. If you’re like most people, your first reaction will be “Yuck!” Your taste buds have just fallen victim to the effect of sodium lauryl sulfate. What’s going on?

Try this activity and then learn more about the chemistry behind it.

Continue reading “Hack Your Taste Buds with Toothpaste”

Chemistry Careers Q&A

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And the “Final Jeopardy” topic for today is: ACS ChemClubs.

The answer is… “Food and Careers.”

I’m not Alex Trebek, but imagine the music for the Jeopardy! quiz show theme song playing in the background.

Time’s up! What is the question?
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It is: “What are the two most popular topics suggested by ACS ChemClubs as themes for future resource packets and ‘Activity of the Month’ web updates?

In more than one annual ChemClub survey, food and careers have been hands-down, top, most-mentioned suggestions for future themes to use. Food—yes, destined to be a top choice. Put together a group of teens and food is a natural high-interest topic, with plenty of chemistry-related material available for demos and hands-on activities. One year, ChemClub members were even invited to submit their favorite recipes and related chemistry factoids to create The ACS ChemClub Cookbook.

But careers? Yes, it ties in beautifully with one of the bullet points of the ChemClub mission statement, to learn about study and career opportunities in the many and varied fields of chemistry. ACS ChemClubs wants to help advisors share this information, and, to use words specifically mentioned in the mission statement, to provide students with “fun, authentic, and hands-on opportunities” to do this. In past resource packets, we’ve offered ideas for potential speakers to invite to talk with ChemClubs about a particular theme topic. We’ve given links to specific careers on the ACS “College to Careers” website. We’ve introduced you to chemists through video profiles, such as “Meet a BP Chemist” that’s part of the Energy Foundations for High School Chemistry module.

But, are we filling the need for resources related to careers? In this case, à la Jeopardy!, I don’t have the answers, only questions—for you. If you’re a ChemClub advisor, how do you use career materials in your ChemClub and classroom? What would you find most useful as resources? If you’re a student, what do you want to know about career opportunities? What do you find most engaging? How can we best meet your needs?

Get Your Free Chemistry Samples Here!

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“If you only see one movie this year … make it [fill in name of latest, greatest movie here].” Movie poster cliché? Yes.

What about: “If you only read one journal issue this year … make it the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education.” Cliché? Perhaps—or just good advice.

J. Chem. Educ. recently posted its January 2014 issue online. Typically, one has to subscribe to read the full text of most of the articles. However, this issue serves as its sample issue for the year, and it’s positively packed with good reads for high school chemistry educators.

First up on my radar was George M. Bodner’s commentary “Creation of an American Association of Chemistry Teachers.” He discusses the American Chemical Society’s decision this past fall to create the AACT for K–12 chemistry teachers. I was at the ACS High School Day program in Indianapolis when Bodner stepped in to our meeting room to share this momentous news. Learn about it in the article, then stay up-to-date on what’s going on with the planned September 2014 launch for AACT by entering your email address at http://www.acs.org/aact. Additional articles share further perspectives on the new association, including comments from the current J. Chem. Educ. high school editors.

The photos for “Antimicrobial Properties of Spices: An Activity for High School or Introductory Chemistry or Biology” caught my eye. Food is typically a very popular topic among ChemClubs. This activity looks at the antimicrobial properties of spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Students can observe the effect of using these spices on a dessert. The “Supporting Information” link for this article has a student activity worksheet you can download.

Don’t miss out on your free chemistry samples. Jump to the free issue, skim through the table of contents, and see what grabs your interest. From there, download a pdf or print out a copy of your favorite articles to use in your classroom, share with a colleague, or just file away in a “Try This!” folder. What did you find?