Thursday 3/23: Sorry for such a late post. It's Sunday! The weekend has just slipped by and I am playing catch up. We are up to page 44 of the notes.
Okay, so, let's review the big issues covered last Thursday evening. We did a fair amount of chemistry - yet everything ties to our work on the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).
First, let's recall that the EMS is a result of the movement of electrons. Electrons absorb energy and often increase their position relative to a nucleus (They increase in potential energy). In due course they will also lose that energy and lose that potential energy. However, that energy change will be in the form of some type of conversion to kinetic energy. This release of kinetic energy is the EMS.
The evening surrounded all sorts of examples as to how the EMS functions in our "everyday" world.
We should recall to things before the reivew:
1) Generally, when it comes to the color of clothing, the color we "see" is generally a part of ROYGBV that is NOT absorbed. When we see a red jacket, as a rule, the electrons of the atoms which make up the dye molecules are absorbing all of ROYGBV, except red. White colored clothing has all of ROYGBV rejected, and black colored clothing is absorbing all of ROYGBV.
2) It is similar but with just a nuance for colors we see with samples of glass. Clear glass is essentially allowing all of ROYGBV to pass through. (TBH, there are all sorts of "clear" glass. Some sample are a touch gray, others a bit yellow - but we are keeping it simple). However, when we look at a sample of blue glass, (for instance) the blue frequencies are passing through the glass (they are not absorbed). It's similar to clothing, except we are looking at the passage of light energy through a material as opposed to the failure to absorb a wavelength or a "reflection" of light.
We began with the video from SciShow as to why green plants are - well, green! So, if plants absorbed all ROYGBV they would be black! If they rejected all of ROYGBV they would be white. Well we see most plants as "green" . Why?
Green wavelengths of light are the most common or abundant wavelengths of visible light. So why do plants reject those wavelengths, but absorb all the rest? It has been hypothesized that it's a means of avoiding burn out and a mutation which allows plants to regulate a more even absorption of light energy.
Plants growing under other plants are not suddenly attacked by light as space is cleared above them - rather, they regulate a consistent absorption of energy by taking everything but green.
We then moved onto the shading of polycarbonate lenses in so many of our glasses. The absorption of ultraviolet energy (not ROYGBV in this case), causes a dye molecue to reconform its shape into one with more double bonds. This reconformation of shape in the presence of UV light allows for more of ROYGBV to be absorbed by the dye molecules. Thus, since more light energy is being absorbed, the lenses appear darker. When you walk into a building, and the UV light is greatly decreased, the dye molecule returns to its original shape, losing some double bonds and stops absorbing light. The lenses become clearer.
We then spoke a bit about mirrors and the interfence a reflected image causes . Most mirrors have a silver backing (Less expensive ones may have a mylar [a plastic polymer] or aluminum backing.)
I challenged you to look into a mirror in a very dark room. It is not that you cannot see a reflection - it is that there IS NO reflection. You need some form of light!
At one point we took the time to run the demonstration described at the bottom of page 42 of the notes.
I ran a chemical reaction, which resulted in a new precipitate, AgCl. Silver ions are bonded to chloride ions. This bond has a particular energy. The compound will stay intact until the energy required to break the bond is absorbed.
When AgCl does break apart, there is a swapping of electrons and solid silver grains (which appear black) and chlorine are produced. The small grains of silver appear black, because they act sort of like a light trap and aborbed energy is bouned all around and in an irregularly shaped crystal system and thus is looks like the light is absorbed (black).
So we can extend our understanding of this issue a few ways:
1) From the demonstration we learned that blue wavelengths are the only ones with enough energy to destroy the bond in AgCl. Only grains exposed to blue wavelengths of light caused the chemical decomposition of AgCl to silver and chlorine.
2) All of ROYGBV is travelling at the same speed, however, due to the small wavelengths of blue light (hence the greater frequency) more energy is absorbed by objects per unit time.
3) Red light had a very weak affect on the silver chloride compound. None of it decomposed. Thus, we use red light in rooms developing photographic film. Photographic film uses silver chloride.
4) Images on camera film are ruined when the back of a camera is opened - due to the influx of white light - which naturally contains wavelengths of blue. This energy absorption causes all of the film to convert to crystals of silver.
We studied why the sky is blue, and why it is "reddish" at sunset. This is all due to Raleigh Scattering.
Look at that link's information, found in your notes.
We looked at the origin of the color of a Blood Moon. Remember, as wavelenths are forced to lengthen, they become larger and shift towards red. Hence in such an eclipse, the light making it to the moon was attenuated towards red, thus the surface of the moon appeared red!
The moon has no natural light of its own. It only reflects light coming from the sun.
And, at last we are going to put all of these experiences together as we study climate change.
Show up early on Monday! And remember, we are going to do the candle lab - which I will hand out when you get to class. We are not going to do the Food Lab.
Get me your topics for your paper - and yes, even now, get me an email with any questions you may have.
Monday 3/20: Polymer Lab Write Up Assignment
If you have lost the handout, you can click above and find a digital copy. This is due next Monday, as your lab write up. If you are struggling with this at any level, or have any type of question, just drop an email. Recall, as I said at the start of lecture and in lab, this is a practice run for your paper. You may actually find that two to three paragraphs is too little to complete everything . Remember, as I said, that is one of the points I want you to realize as you engage in that constant defining and explaining. WRITE ME!!!
The next note packet, Unit 2/ Part 1 was given out. Be sure you have a copy as we will be getting to it fairly soon.
I reminded folks that their topics re: their papers are due. I am just an email away should you require any help.
We are on page 42 (essentially) of the notes.
We started in on the electromagnetic spectrum. A special thanks to M for being willing to help me out with my metaphor regarding the difference in energy content of a long wave vs the higher frequency short wave.
I stressed the nature of the sinusoidal waves and the relationship between the various forms of energy found along the continuum known as the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).
Bear in mind that all of these energies are related in terms of their origins. They are each produced via the change in potential energy of electrons relative to a nucleus. These changes in potential energy are witnessed as a form of kinetic energy (EMS). The PE is converted to KE (The Law of the Conservation of Matter and Energy reminds us that energy cannot be created or destroyed by ordinary chemical means - but energy may be converted and/or transferred.)
We focused upon the relationship between wavelength and frequency. We took a look at the bridge collapse across the Tacoma Narrows and what has euphemistically been dubbed "Galloping Gurdy".
But this led to a great question, as to what do we mean by frequency - and I spent a fair amount of time, working my way to an answer to that question.
We then began to look at the nature of photonic energy known as "visible light". We discussed red wavelengths vs. blue wavelengths and finally, ultraviolet wavelengths.
We discussed how frequencies can be matched and how EMS energy can disrupt molecular systems.
We then talked about the subtractive theory of color in terms of the color of light we see tends to be some form of reflected or unabsorbed light.
Hence we see "green" when we look at plant leaves because green light is essentially reflected back. The electrons of light sensitive molecules in plants are absorbing ROY BV as a rule - but less so, green wavelengths. Hence, plants grow well in the blue light found in greenhouses, as they can more readily absorb this light to run their photosynthetic processes.
Thursday will see us with a demo that hopefully shows the results of different light waves and their energies.
Okay, now, that's about it. Don't hesitate to write with concerns/questions. I am right here and I will work to get back to you asap.
Thursday 3/9: Please accept my apologies for the lateness of this addition to the blog. I have been so busy on other projects - but it's here now!
Assignment: Don't forget that your topics for a final paper should be sent to me (or discussed with me before/after class), as you return to WCSU .
We began with a run through of some (hopefully) helpful pieces re: that final topic and paper.
At the bottom of the first tab (Everyday Notes) you will find three to four documents that should help you.
I highlighted the idea that you could do three or four different (hopefully themed ) topics at 1.5 to 2 pages each. For instance if you wanted to pick three to four prescriptions , you are welcome to do that. The "theme" is prescription medicine. You will find that everything (with the aforementioned prescription topic) will start to sound alike - that's okay.
Remember, the idea of this paper is for you to demonstrate how the content of this course has helped you research a topic of interest. It is not about teaching me some sort of information - but rather allowing me to see how the course enables you to adequately function on an "everyday" sort of topic.
1) Yes, you may change your topic if it turns out not to be working - but there will be no extension as to due date . Those presentation dates found in the introductory packet are our boundaries. I will be happy to help you with any of this; ideas, writing, interpretation of a really weird piece of information found while reading.
2) I want to know your topic so I can help inform you is it is appropriate/reasonable.
3) Yes, you can do a paper on tattoos, maraijauana, cocaine, birth control etc.... This is a University - but, you will not be encouraged at any point to write a paper which would be intolerant of any group of people. (I know, no one is going there - I just feel the need to raise that issue).
4) Your paper is based on chemistry / biochemistry / geochemistry / atmospheric chemistry. Use the document as to what your paper should include, found under the Everyday Notes tab. When you come across a chemical, be sure to describe its bonding, structure, identity - this adds chemistry to topics which are heavy on the biology. Research how the body uses this chemical. Identify any unknown terms AS WELL AS known terms.
For instance - it is APPROPRIATE to write something like; Methane (CH4) is an organic compound. This means that methane is made from at least two different elements chemically united in a specific ratio. The properties of the individual elements tend to be lost, as the new chemical species in produced. In the case of methane that ratio is 1:4. The bonds are covalent bonds. This means that the two elements joined are both nonmetals and that at least one pair of electrons are shared bewteen the elements. It is considered to be organic, because the compound is primairly made from carbon and hydrogen. (I should include some sort of citation (or multiple citations) at this point - even if the source(s) is/are from our notes)
Notice how I added a fair amount of appropriate chemistry from our course as an introduction to the chemical, methane. I defined terms , I provided "beacuase statements", as I went along. Eventually I would have moved on to discuss what I wished to discuss about methane - but I demonstrated some grasp of chemistry prior to that discussion.
By doing all of the above, you meet the condition of the paper, that you demonstrate my mastery of the work, as you write about a topic of choice.
5) We will be going into organic and inorganic compounds soon. So, very valuable insights needed for you paper will be coming your way!
6) Look at the introductory packet for the presentation questions you need to answer. You may find having those questions in mind, a help, as you write your final paper.
Once completed we moved back to our notes re: Energy. We are up to page 39.
We watched the video linked at the top of page 36, from around minutes 5'30" to about 8'00". I spent a great deal of time focusing upon vibrational movement - as vibrational movement plays an important role in our grasp of potential energy as well as the explanation for the chemical underpinnings of climate change.
We moved onto our work on Kinetic Energy and Thermal (Infrared) Energy.
It is important to note that the units for thermal energy are J (joules) or kJ (kilojoules). This connects to our work with exothermic and endothermic energy exchanges.
I stressed that temperature is really not the exact same thing as thermal energy content. Rather, temperature is the measure of the AVERAGE kinetic energy of paritcles in contact with the material used to measure such things.
I stressed that the alcohol in the bulb of a thermometer is not in contact with ALL the chemical species in a beaker - only a selected sample. This is why it is important to keep a thermometer in the middle of a sample, not at the bottom.
A thermometer under your tongue is NOT in contact with your entire body / blood supply. Temperature is an AVERAGE of the kinetic energy.
The preliminary work on kinetic energy led us to an introducton to the electromagnetic spectrum. All of the energies represented along this continuum (or spectrum) are related to each other.
Each form of energy is due to the movement or the transition of electrons of an atom, relative to a nucleus. Here again, we see a link between potential energy (relative positions) and the Law of the Conservation of Energy, in that potential energy can be converted into some form of kinetic energy (like the electromagnetic spectrum).
This means that visible light is related to microwave energy and infrared energy (thermal) and radio waves. All of these energies are sourced from the movement of electrons!
The difference between these energies is in the wavelength and the frequency of those wavelengths.
This is our work to be mastered upon our return.
Stay safe Gang!
Monday 3/6: First, I felt your lab work was terrific. Every group produced soap and it looked good! So Brava and Bravo gang.
Don't forget, ideas for a final paper are going to be due just after break. The paper is really your final exam - so write it to show how taking this course helped you research a topic, in which you are interested.
If someone reminds me, I will take a few moments on Thursday to run through that idea and highlight some helpful documents.
Okay, lecture was pretty streamlined, after a fashion.
First, sweating (as in a suana) does not appear to eliminate toxins via the skin.
No one had big time questions re: the homework on exothermic and endothermic energy exchanges.
We have begun Unit 1 part 2 , Energy.
Yes, I know we have been touching on energy right along, but frankly, the topic deserves its own set of lectures. I love discussing the topic.
For me, the much underappreciated topic of Potential Energy is important.
Chemical bonds are a form of potential energy.
The key to understanding potential energy is really grasping that "position" relative to some sort of standard, carries an energy with it.
So my stories and ideas about the classic "rock on top of a hill" come into play here. The rock on top of a hill has more potential energy relative to the rock at the bottom of the hill (the assumed standard).
We attacked this idea with a number of examples. Sports examples are very helpful. The whole "follow through" idea with a boxing punch, or a tennis swing, or a baseball bat swing each point to the idea of increasing the relative position between a position and a target.
We then tried to tie the idea of potential energy to electrons. The whole, bow and arrow diagram related to the view of the old Bohr Model of the atom's electron shells helped to illustrate that electrons possess a greater potential energy (and possible kinetic energy) as we move outward from the assumed standard of the nucleus to the electrons.
We are on our way! Do not hesitate, please (!) to contact me with questions and/or concerns.
Thursday 3/3: We are moving forward - a little slower than I would like - but I feel the time spent on the current topic (the types of energy exchanges: exothermic and endothermic) is very important as there are so many "every day" issues connected to the topic.
With that I asked that you look at a number of problems. Don't let this chance slip by you! Look at them. I will take questions on Monday . The questions are staggered between our current note packet and the new one given out last week. If you don't have a copy of that newer packet (Unit 1 Part 2), there are digital copies to be found under the Everyday Notes tab on this website.
Assignment: Look at pages 31-32 and pages 54-55.
Take a look at Making Soap in the Lab Manual. It's the lab we are going to attack on Monday.
Some of you did not turn in the Covid work last night. You have a chance to maintain most of your credit by getting me that work before our next class.
Email me a Word Document (not Google Doc...as permissions get all messed up) with the completed work OR send me a picture of your completed work and then bring in a hard copy of the work on Monday
Last night I picked up the current idea in class, re: the energy exchanges of physical changes and chemical reactions.
These energy exchanges are often described by the terms: exothermic and endothermic.
I began with a look at potential energy diagrams. Don't worry if these are new to you. Use your analytical skills - they offer the visual learner in each of us a chance to see the same information a bit differently.
We should all "Sing with each of our voices, and Learn with each of our styles".
Potential Energy Diagrams are simply a nice way to envision the energy exchanges. Every chemical reaction (per a class member's question), involves BOTH an endothermic portion and an exothermic portion. This corresponds nicely with reactant bond breaking (endothermic) and product bond formation (exothermic). We will learn later why bond breaking is endothermic and bond formation is exothermic...just give me some time to get to a deeper conversation about potential energy.
We classify reactions based upon which ever process (gaining energy or losing energy) dominates.
Products of an endothermic reaction are:
1) higher in energy than the reactants because more energy was absorbed than released.
2) less chemically stable than the reactants, and likely to react again.
Products of exothermic reactions are:
1) lower (lesser) in energy than the reactants.
2) more chemically stable than the reactants, and NOT as likely to react again - or more difficult to get to react again, in comparsion to the reactants.
I spoke extensively about carbon dioxide (and water) as chemicals produced in combustion reactions - and are, in turn, very stable. That tremendous release of flame, light and thermal energy as wood burns hints that the wood somehow was energy heavy (high), and as it was converted to carbon dioxide and water, that energy was "lost to the envirnonment". Thus the carbon dioxide and water must be quite low in energy content.
Much of the remaining time was spent practicing the identification of chemical reactions vs physical changes.
I noted that students were struggling putting the ideas of the energy exchanges together with the aforementioned differentiation, as well as struggling to differentiate between reactions and changes.
Recall we must look at whether new bonds (as seen by a re-arrangement of the chemical symbols, when comparing reactants to products) have been made. If yes, then it's a chemical reaction. If no, then it is a physical change.
When the energy unit (kJ or just J) is on the reactant side of an equation, then it is endothermic. There are endothermic chemical reactions as well as endothermic physical changes.
When the energy unit (kJ or J) is on the product side of an equation, then it is classified as exothermic. More energy was released than absorbed. There are exothermic chemical reactions and exothermic physical changes.
We must establish the difference between the chemicals and the environment.
Often the environment is water (as in a beaker of water) or the surrounding air.
We then took a long look at the idea of perspiration as a cooling process.
The key is to recall that for the vast amount of your environments/experiences; You are the HOTTEST thing around!
That means that your body is very often acting as a stove .... heating the surrounding environment as your superior level of energy moves from the your high point to the lower surrounding.
Thus, as we work out, our body, through its life processes, ends up with producing A LOT OF EXOTHERMIC reactions. Thus our body generates energy as we move around.
Additionally, our body "wants" to remain at a relatively constant temperature ... But, with our workout, we keep adding energy.
So, we must lose that excess energy from all of those exothermic reactions we are causing to meet our desire to move, and our body's intent to remain at a constant temperature.
To accomplish this dual desire to move and yet, to remain at a constant temperature, we perspire.
The "dirty water" dumped by our body onto the skin of our body absorbs the excess energy we are producing. (Impure water requires more energy to evaproate than pure water.)
Thus, our body is able to cool itself, as we generate an excess of energy via these exothermic reactions.
The excess energy is a "stove" for perspiration and that excess energy is used to drive the evaporation of the perspiration and thus we lose that excess energy to the water and we maintain a constant temperature.
Phew! Please write with questions/ concerns / a desire to meet for some extra help.
Monday 2/27: A snowy good day to each of you! Stay warm and safe ... I need you in class on Thursday!
Reminder: Your work on A Capsule of Covid Chemistry is due on Thursday!
Alas, we will not get to make buffers. I know, I am a geek.
I began lecture trying to tie together our work on chemical reactions and physical changes with the Analysis of Water laboratory.
There is some controversy over adding fluoride ion to municipal water supplies. Yes, excessive fluoride ion intake can cause problems, and yet many Americans may not get enough fluoride to help fight tooth decay. Additionally, many of us have gone to the dentist for a fluoride treatment and few have raised the roof over it. You see, it's all about concentration - a theme we keep seeing over and over again.
That brought us to the reading: Tooth Infinity and Beyond! It is all about fluoridated toothpaste and the chemical reaction between the fluoride ion of toothpaste and hydroxyapatite to produce fluorapatite.
1) Toothpaste is a mixture. We can tell this by its list of ingredients (big clue).
2) Most toothpastes mixtures include some form of fluoride ion , either as stannous fluoride (stannous refers to an ion of and the old name for TIN, and the origin of the element's symbol Sn), the downright frightfully sounding sodium monofluorophosphte, or the rather more common, sodium fluoride.
It is the fluoride ion of the toothpaste mixture which participates in the chemical reaction. The rest of the mixture components are there to clean or to flavor or preserve the freshness of the mixture.
3) Hydroxyapatite (a compound found in bones and tooth enamel) is susceptible to the attacks of acids - originating from the lactic acid deposited by bacteria and the acids from our foods (e.g. oranges, tomatoes, soda).
4) By introducing fluoride ion, hydroxyapatite is converted into fluorapatite, a harder, denser, and more acid resistant compound.
This is a chemical reaction, because new bonds are formed. The fluoride replaces the hydroxide ion of hydroxyapatite.
This was contrasted with the explosive and somewhat dangerous conversion of liquid water into water vapor, seen in a few clips about superheated water from the microwave. I really like Craig Richard from TikTok and his take on superheated water. Another (and more easily linked clip) can be found at the New York Post (odd). It's a reasonable demonstration of what I am speaking about: Superheated Water (click to open)
I didn't show the NY Post's version in class, but I am linking it to the blog, as it gives a less dramatic but perhaps more realistic situation. Its explanation however is not as good as Mr. Richard's, from TikTok.
We then moved onto a brief review of reactants and products of a written chemical reaction.
I then introduced endothermic and exothermic exchanges of energy. (And yes, another demo gone arwy)
For now, I shall creep away from my shame and speak to endothermic and exothermic at this point ...
Endothermic chemical reactions (and physical changes) have the energy component (kJ for kilojoules) written on the reactant side of an equation.
This is because it symbolizes that the reactants are absorbing more energy than is released as products are made. The inference is that the products have a greater energy content than the original reactants.
For instance, in the following endothermic physical change, vapor has more energy content than liquid water: kJ + liquid water --> water vapor.
Take a look at the following endothermic chemical reaction,
55.8 kJ + N2O(g) + 2 NaNH2(s) --> NaN3(s) + NaOH(s) + NH3(g)
This is a chemical reaction, due to the new bonds made. Also, the products have a greater energy content than the reactants (There is an absorption of energy). This generally implies that these products are LESS stable (more chemically reactive) than the reactants.
In fact, NaN3 is sodium azide, which is a component in the inflation of car air bags. The sodium azide is dreadfully unstable (more chemically reactive, in part due to a greater energy content) and can explosively reduce that energy content by turning into N2 gas (nitrogen gas), which in turn inflates the air bag!!!!
Thus we can write that sodium azide is endothermically produced.
Exothermic reactions (and phsyical changes) release more energy into the environment as the products are made, than is absorbed by the reactants. Thus the energy component (kJ) is written on the product side of a reaction equation.
The classic example of this is a wood fire. A small energy investment (a match and some kindling) can result in a huge release of energy to the environment.
I urged everyone to think about these issues from the point of view of the the chemicals.
Wood mixture + oxygen gas --> carbon dioxide gas + ash + kJ.
More energy is released as the products are made than originally absorbed. This implies that carbon dioxide and ash are MORE stable (far less chemically reactive .... far less likely to react again), in part because they are so low in energy.
In fact, this is the wonderment of photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is so UNREACTIVE that it is absolutely astounding that plants can get it to react to produce glucose! And they do this without extraordinary heating of the reactants. It's mind - boggling!
A more difficult issue for many students is the physical change of liquid water to ice. This is an exothermic physical change.
Think about it from the pov of the water: In order for water to turn to ice the energy content of the water must be lowered (lessened).
In order to do this, would it make sense to add more energy to the water, as on a stove or with a Bunsen burner? No!
Energy must be removed from the water to achieve freezing. Energy must leave the water and enter the environment.
What is it called when energy is sent off from chemicals into the environment? Right, EXOTHERMIC
Okay, that's where I want you to be for Thursday. I will pick up these themes again and move forward.
Thanks for reading! Please, write me with any questions. Okay?
Thursday 2/23: I handed back the chromatography labs. I know some folks arriving once lecture began probably did not get one back. See me!
Assignment: The Capsule of Covid Chemistry (Hand Sanitizers) was given out. It is due on 2 March. It is to be word-processed (typed). The only questions which need to be answered are the 7 questions found on page 5 of the handout.
This assignment will begin to set up some ideas I hope to use shortly, in lecture.
Be sure you have the acids/base/buffer lab prepped . I gave out a prelab handout - but the actual lab is in your lab manual.
We deviated a bit from my lesson plan, as a question regarding the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio was asked.
So, here is a very brief overview:
1) The train carried, a number of cars containing vinyl chloride (C2H3Cl), (not polyvinyl choride, which is pretty common around homes, as a hard plastic used in plumbing). Vinyl chloride is carginogenic and mutagenic. This means, that in high enough doses it has been known to cause cancer and mutations to DNA. In my opinion (and it is only an opinion) dilution into the atmosphere will probably limit harmful exposure. However, there appears to be contamination to waterways.
Yet, according to the Governor DeWine's Office (click to open link) , water contamination appears to be limited and diminishing in open waterways. However, resident's on well water are highly encouraged to use only bottled water.
Testing of air, waterways and well water is ongoing.
2) Upon its release from any sort of pressurized container, vinyl chloride can turn into a gas pretty easily. It is an organic compound (made from primarily carbon and hydrogen). Being an organic compound capable of vaporizing easily, it is pretty combustible.
Governor DeWine agreed to combusting the vinyl chloride.
3) When it is burned, the common products of CO and CO2 are produced. This is unsurprising as these
gases are commonly released during any uncontrolled burning of organic compounds.
4) What is at issue, is that the uncontrolled burning of vinyl chloride also produces large quantities of HCl(g) [hydrogen chloride gas] and phosgene gas .
5) HCl (g) will , in the presence of moisture turn into hydrochloric acid and can make its way into waterways as well as into the air. It is corrosive.
6) Phosgene gas is highly dangerous. It is a gas used during WWI trench warfare. It is highly damaging to lung tissue. Again, dilution into the larger atmosphere may make the burning of the vinyl chloride work. I assume testing will be ongoing for quite some time.
We used the work on HCl (aq) to discuss the nature of acids and bases.
One thing I did not make clear during the class is that the term, acidity is naturally associated with the idea of acids, yet it is the term, alkaline, or alkalinity which is associated frequently with the term base.
My demo to illustrate strong vs weak acids failed brilliantly - and I shall try it again, when I am not as rushed. (Sigh) Art is such a cruel taskmaster.
We had a few moments to discuss chemical reactions vs. physical changes. They are not the same thing. A chemical change demands the creation of new chemical bonds, (a re-arrangement of the chemical species found on the reactant side, when compared to the product side). We will continue along this track on Monday.
It's a short summary - but sincere. Write with questions - and please, do not hesitate to bring in issues you want to discuss - as someone did with the issues evolving in Ohio. We can find the time to work them into our work - and I hope you know that if I don't know the answer(s) off the top of my head I will take some time to research them and get back to you.
Thursday 2/16: Okay! We managed to get a good deal done. First; there are 2 assignments.
Assignment: Please read through pages 28 and 29 of your note packet. I will give you the notes on on fire, freezing water to ice and condensing water on Thursday, when we meet again. However, if you could have that background reading prepped and ready to go, that would be quite helpful.
Assignment: Please complete the questions on page 33. I handed out a new copy of page 33, as I failed to include key vocabulary on the original version. The digital copies (pdf and interactive) have each been updated with the newest version of page 33.
I will accept your hard copies of your lab reports on the Water Analysis lab, when we meet next Thursday, in lecture.
Don't forget you need to complete both questions 4 and 5 as well as a reflection. Ensure that you research issues on BOTH chlorine AND fluoride in water, and cite all sources, for question 4. This is NOT an opinion question per se. For credit, you need to research the good & bad and THEN come up with an opinion - but support it with cited facts.
Question 4 is like a mini-research piece, followed up by a short persuasive piece - if it helps you to think of it that way.
Additionally, for question 5, you may research purification in well-water systems, or select the nearest municipal water supply system. Cite your sources.
Don't forget your reflection regarding the lab work.
I handed out copies of Unit 1 Part 2 (Energy), the Pre-Lab on Acids/Bases/Buffers and as I said, a re-do on page 33 of the notes. All of this is online, in digitalized formatting.
Okay! We are up through page 27 of the notes.
We spent a fair amount of time tackling the issues surrounding mixtures. Mixtures are physical combinations of substances (elements and/or compounds). The individual components of a mixture don't lose most of their essential properites, as no new chemical bonding occurs when making a mixture, in the broadest sense.
Chemical reactions may occur, and a mixture of chemicals may result .
For instance, do you recall in the Water Analysis lab, when you added AgNO3(aq) to your aqueous solution (the water sample your were testing) ? This was the test for chloride ion in the water.
The vast number of you produced a white precipitate (solid) in the solution, as a positive test. Well, the production of that precipitate was a chemical reaction, and we ended up with that new solid, still in the solution, hence, the original sample of water, was turned into a mixture of water and the new solid.
We can separate mixtures fairly easily with the correct equipment.
For instance we could have filtered that mixture and separated the INSOLUBLE solid (silver chloride) from the rest of the water/mixture solution. The white solid would be trapped in the filter paper and everything else that was still soluble in water, would pass through the filter paper.
This was matched to our conversation regarding such processes on pages 24 and 25 of the notes.
We watched a video regarding the separation of salt and water, via evaporation. That link is on page 25 of the notes. If you open the interactive digital form of the notes, you can right click that link and watch the video - or any of the videos on that page.
The examples we spent the most time on were the mRNA vaccines for Covid-19.
This portion of the lecture surrounded two issues;
1) the nature of the vaccine mixture (Pfizer and/or Moderna) and also
2) how a mRNA vaccine actually works.
I asked if it was of interest at one point - and many said it was - so I continued.
1) It takes time for our body to ramp up a defense against an invading virus. The best means of defense must be found. Then supplies of the defense must be made. This takes time … and as we figure out how to fight the invader, the virus is multiplying and on the move! The job of any vaccine is to prep our defenses for the virus, in advance of contracting the virus.
2) Scientists took the genetic blueprint of the spike protein of the coronavirus (That blueprint is the mRNA of the spike protein)
3) The vaccine contains no part of the actual virus. It does though CONTAIN the blueprint (the mRNA) for the spike protein. You cannot contract the virus from the mRNA or the spike protein.
4) Our body detects this mRNA blueprint and begins to make it at our ribosomes, because that is what our body does! At no point does the mRNA enter the nucleus of our cells. It does NOT/CANNOT mutate our DNA.
5) However, as it begins to make the spike protein (which is NOT infectious), our body recognizes that protein as foreign, (Like: WTH are your doing you dumb ribosomes??!) , and our body mounts an attack against this protein, by developing antibodies.
6) This attack takes time to ramp up, and eventually the body begins to destropy this foreign protein it just made. Thus, the vaccine can have some side-effects which make us feel as though we are fighting off a real invader. So, we may develop chills, fever, aches, and pains as our body works to destroy the protein.
7) The body eliminates this spike protein, but specialized memory cells of the immune system can recall what to do if the body ever detects this protein again. So now the body can respond to a real viral attack, much, much more quickly. Our immune system has essentially been trained or “primed” to know how to best attack the protein if it is ever encountered again. So the vaccine DOES NOT prevent you from contracting the virus, but it certainly can help prevent the cascade of health issues which puts you in the hospital
8) The mRNA of the spike protein and the other components of the vaccine, are all broken down and eliminated from the body, within 2 weeks or so, as is any foreign protein. However, we have embedded the best way to defeat the virus, should it every show up, for real!
Yes, the vaccine is a mixture of 8 or so components. It is NOT a single compound or element .
I also worked to debunk some ideas out on social media. Some are listed below.
NO! You cannot develop Covid from the vaccine, because, the vaccine does NOT contain the virus. The vaccine doesn't even really contain the spike protein. It contains only the mRNA of the spike protein. Again, we cannot get Covid from the spike protein or its mRNA.
NO! The virus CANNOT cause mutations to our DNA. The mRNA is used at our ribosomes, which are in the cytoplasm of our cells. It does NOT go into the nucleus of a cell.
NO! The technology for this vaccine is not exactly new - It as been in the works for about 30 or more years. The problem was protecting the mRNA long enough for it to be replicated. Scientists (especially a female scientist Katalin Karikó ) cracked the needed methodology in 2019/20.
NO! The vaccine does NOT contain, live virus, dead virus, mercury, lead or anything like that. Check out
A detailed view of Covid vaccine components (click to open) OR Check out a simpler piece
Covid Vaccine at CT. gov (click to open)
We then moved onto the "king of mixtures" as far as the economy is concerned, petroleum oil. This section is a huge "Everyday " application.
We are metaphorically, bathed in oil or rather its products all day long.
Petroleum, Natural Gas and Coal are classified as Fossil Fuels.
Fossil Fuels refer to the algae, diatoms, other protists and plants which died 100 million years or so, prior to the dinosaurs.
Thus, it's not really the "rock-like" fossils we see in museums giving us oil, per se.
Oil does not come from "dead dinos". Oil predates the dionosaurs.
Fossil fuels are NOT a renewable energy source. Think about it. Renewable is a poor adjective for something which takes 200 to 300 million years to be produced.
Your notes contain the idea that vegatative, protist, and animal matter were converted into oil in an anoxic (oxygen deprived) environment hundreds of millions of years ago.
Okay, I think that's it. Let me know what you're thinking. Is this interesting? Did it go on too long, too indepth? What are your thoughts? Email me, or speak with me.
Monday: 2/13: We are on page 25 of the note packet and we are within striking distance of finishing this first set of notes.
The evening's lecture continued our primary investigation on substances and mixtures.
There are two big types of subtances: elements and compounds.
By definition, substances are "pure". While you may see it often, it is redundant to use the phrase, "pure substance". It helps to emphasize that when speaking of a substance we are discussing only a single type of atom or molecule. But it's a bit overkill - it's like saying it was a really big giant. It is understood that giants, are unto themselves, big!
1) Substances are by definition homogeneous. This means they are uniform in property and look throughout the sample.
I tend to think of the term in light of a sample's "looks". When you eyeball a sample of matter, ask yourself , "How many different types of matter/colors/textures/phases do I see?".
If you see only one type of matter, then the term homogeneous applies. Pure solids, liquids and gases (e.g. substances) are homogeneous.
If you see more than one type of matter, texture or color, then the term heterogeneous applies. No substance (no element and no compound) may be classified as heterogeneous. If a sample appears to be heterogeneous it is most likely a mixture!!!
I believe too much emphasis is placed on the term homogeneous - as it can be confusing to first year students. You see, the term homogeneous applies to substances as well as some mixtures (like aqueous solutions), but the term heterogeneous is all about mixtures!
2) A substance (element or compound) tends to have a lot of intensive properties. There is a fairly clean melting point, density, normal boiling points, specific heat, etc...
3) Samples of any of the 118 elements (of which 90 or so are accessible to us), are made from atoms with an identical atomic number. The term, atomic number refers to the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom .
In fact, the Periodic Table of Elements is organized according to the Atomic Number. It starts at 1 with Hydrogen and moves on from there.
This means that hydrogen atoms have only 1 proton in the nucleus.
Move to the right and you will see the symbol He, for helium. An atom of helium has only 2 protons in the nucleus.
An atom of lithium has only 3 protons in the nucleus.
An atom of beryllium has only 4 protons ....and so forth.
Were the Mars Rover to analyze something and find that it has 29 protons in the nucleus, then we would say, that sample is a sample of Copper (Cu; atomic number 29).
The atoms of a single element all have the same chemical properties.
We can help identify an element on a test, or in a printed article by noting that there is only a single capital letter in the symbol. I will follow that up with an (s) for solid, or (l) for liquid, or (g) for gas.
4) The written or printed symbol for a compound will have two or more different capital letters, followed by (s), (l) or (g).
A compound has a definite proportion between the elements per the subscripts.
We spent a good deal of time, discussing this, using the differences between H2O and H2O2.
We also spent a fair amount of time discussing that the properties of a compound were rather different from those properties of the elements used to chemically bond to make the compound.
We took time to discuss the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, and the evolution of oxygen gas used to bathe a deep wound in order to kill anaerobic bacteria. Many doctors don't love this as treatment these days, as the oxygen may also harm some healthy tissue. Wounds should always be checked out.
But this allowed us to discuss Clostridium tetanae and Mycobacterium leprae and led us right to a conversation about mixtures and the separation of mixtures with a look at the work of Alice Ball.
Her work led to a separation of a soluble form of the active ingredient in chaulmoogra oil for a treatment of leprosy. It was an absolutely fabulous piece of work!
5) Mixtures are physical combinations of substances in varying proportions. Think of a tossed salad, and you have a good description of a mixture.
The proportions of ingredients can be varied.
The ingredients tend to keep their own properties.
In fact, anything with a list of ingredients is most likely a mixture.
I introduced aqueous solutions to you, (aq), as a very common form of mixture. Think of any type of soda. The sugar dissolved into the water, still tastes sweet, the water is still fluid, the colors of the dyes are the same as they were originally, and the caffiene still works on our nervous system as a stimulant, etc.
Okay, Thursday will see us attack an important mixture, petroleum oil! Write with questions.
Thursday 2/9: Reminder! Bring in some well-water from home if you want to test it for Monday's lab.
Dorm water is essentially Danbury City water - and I fear it will be dreadfully boring. I will have some super-duper polluted water for you to test, should you forget to bring any of your own in.
Well I began the class with a review of "how we breathe". Perhaps a better title would be "How air is pushed in and pushed out of our thoracic cavity / lungs". That's a bit lengthy but perhaps more accurate. Our conversation did not include how gases pass through and into the alveoli of the lungs. We can attack that another day, should you wish to do so.
I then followed up with my belief that most of us do not appreciate the impact of the statement, that we live at the bottom of an ocean of air.
I love the video re: the breaking of the ruler from Texas A & M's Physics Department. That link is on this website, under the videos section and it is of course, in your notes.
What was amazing was that the newspaper provided 500 square inches of area and for every single one of those square inches, 14.7 lbs (rounded to 15) per square inch of air pressure was being exerted.
Yet, I felt that it was a lesson which could be improved upon. So, after drawing a box representing a square inch on the board and emphasizing the air pushing down on us, I followed up with some "crushing" news.
I was pleased to hear class members sharing their thoughts as to what was happening inside the soda can as it heated. Note, there was about 20 mL of water in the can.
Students recognized that the water was vaporizing and that the air was being heated. With a little nudge we heard that the heated air, and ulitmately the water vapor was exiting through the opening at the top of the can.
Eventually, the can was full of water vapor, and pretty much only that. The air had been expelled.
Now, water vapor can turn back into liquid water, pretty quickly. And that is what happend as heating stopped and the can came in contact with some colder water, in a large beaker. The slight change in internal pressure, due to condensing water, was sufficient to lower the internal pressure below atmospheric pressure and the can was crushed.
We followed up the conversation with a video of a 55 gallon drum being crushed via a similar pathway.
We then wrapped up the basic work upon the dimensions and general properties (intensive and extensive) of matter.
These summarize the first part of Unit 1 part 1 notes pretty well. Review them.
We then launched into our work on substances.
We started with the idea that the term substance applies to the 118 or so elements of the Periodic Table and to any "pure" compound.
Most of us really don't deal with substances. We tend to deal with mixtures of substance - but more on that later in the course (like on Monday!)
We spoke a little bit about gold and platinum. We discussed how they are chemically resistant to the attack of a great number of chemicals and can be found in the crust of the Earth.
In response to a question we touched upon white gold. White gold in the USA is considered to be a mixture (not a substance), made from blending gold and nickel. It is an alloy (related to the mixture of brass, a mixture of copper and zinc, we made in lab).
We touched upon nickel allergies and white gold (Hopefully, for some that was a reasonable everyday application of our work).
I then spoke about white gold produced in Europe. European white gold, tends to be a mixture (an alloy) of gold and palladium. The incidence of allergy to palladium is very low - I personally am unaware of an allergy to palladium per skin contact. There is some question as to oral sensitivity to palladium - but the incidence due to allergic response to skin contact (development of a contact dermatitis) is fairly uncommon. But, rely upon your MDs opinion if you have other questions.
****Something like allergic response to various metals and/or their cations (positive ions), such as nickel, palladium, copper, chromium, cobalt, etc, may make an interesting topic for your final paper!!!!!!
We will continue with this train of thought on Monday.
As always, write with any questions. I will do my best to attack any issue.
Monday 2/6: Hey Gang! I thought you did really well. Not everyone hit the assignment, but those who did help carry the evening with our work on extensive and intensive properties.
We are on page 20 of the notes. We are moving forward, quite well.
The evening began with a review as to how pressure and volume changes in our lungs (or thoracic cavity)
help us to breathe. I spent a little time introducing Boyle's Law to you.
Now, first, you do NOT need to deal with P1V1 = P2V2, per se. (THERE IS NO MATH !!!)
I introduced it to better attack the inverse relationship between the pressure and volume changes, and to help you envision what the heck is going on, a bit better.
The take home message is that as the volume of the thoracic cavity INCREASES, the pressure decreases.
It decreases to a pressure lower than atmospheric pressure (outside air pressure) and air is pushed into our lungs.
Conversely when the medula oblongata does its thing and the diagphram and ribcage work to decrease the volume of the thoracic cavity, the pressure of the air in the cavity INCREASES and air is pushed out.
This is why we can fall asleep and not worry about our breathing.
What I found so neat was the grasp class members had when I attacked the issue from another pov by pointing out:
1) If we understand pressure as being registered when gas molecules hit the sides of the container,
2) it then makes sense to consider that as the volume of a container (e.g. a throacic cavity) is increased, the gas trapped inside, "hits" the sides of the container less often, and with lesser force.
3) Hence as that volume increased, fewer collisions between gases and "the container" occur and the pressure drops.
People were nodding along and I thing that was great! There was active listening going on and if I may suggest it (and I will), people really began to own the material! Brava, and Bravo!!
We then moved onto intensive and extensive properites.
A big take home message on this topic is: intensive properites are constants and we can use them to help identify or at least differentiate between / or separate different substances from a mixture!
We saw this idea in our lab re: chromatography. Those Rf values could be seen as intensive properties, (assuming we compare materials under the same conditions of solvent, stationary phase, temperature and pressure.)
Those Rf values of the standard dyes can be compared to mixtures of those dyes, helping us to determine the contents of the mixture.
Okay - no lives are being saved with our paper chromatography work. I know it is a simple experimental concept, but it is one which is actually replicated on a huge scale which actually does save lives.
The idea of chromatography is related to processes used in; blood analysis, food testing, forensic science, and testing for water purity, just to mention a few examples.
How about that? There are big ideas found in our lab experiments!
Okay, so I digress ... let's get back to the ideas from lecture. After intensive and extensive properties, we then attacked "how a pond freezes over".
The key here is to grasp that water freezes at 0C (or 32 F), but it is densest at the higher temperature of 4C (or 39 F)
As the air cools faster than water, the air gets colder first. The uppermost layer of water in contact with the air, cools, reaches 4 C and then sinks due to the greater denisty. A new uppermost layer of water is now in contact with the cooler air.
This continues until a final layer in contact with the air, cannot sink due to the denser water beneath it, and that layer cools to 0 C and ultimately freezes.
Life beneath the ice cap can continue on at a chilly 4 C!
I think this is just marvellous!
We then looked at how much water there is and how much is potable and how much is available. So, we have touched upon environmental chemistry in this case.
Again, the focus for our course is always to be the "everyday applications", and knowledge that every citizen should know.
Earlier in the lecture period, I mentioned that I would like to ask about "breathing" on our first exam.
So this led to a conversation in lab, that there are many concepts I will highlight as questions on an exam (Don't worry, we haven't scheduled an exam yet) But, why would I tell you? Because these ideas are some of the ones I really want you to know! I don't want the exam material to be a secret. There are ideas I want you to study!
I mentioned three the other night - but I am listing a larger number here - so you can ask questions as we work through more material.
On an exam, you should expect questions on (at least ... so far). I put the three I mentioned in class in boldface.
1) What is an example of matter? (anything you can put in a balloon)
2) What is an example of energy?
3) Law of the Conservation of matter and energy
6) Extensive and Intensive properties as they pertain to mass, volume, density, melting point etc.
7) Chromatography (per our conversation and work in lab)
8) How a pond freezes over.
Some are great for short answer questions, while others are the stuff of multiple choice. Remember, your tests are take home experiences, so you can use notes, the internet, this blog, the lab manual etc...
Write with issues/concerns/questions. I appreicate the chance and perhaps the trust you have in me, to allow me to help you meet the goals you have set for yourself.
Thursday 2/2: I APOLOGIZE! I wrote this Friday - but I never published it. I found it sitting on my desktop when I came to reivew! Here it is now.
We are up to page 14 in the notes.
Assignment: Please mess about a bit with pages 15 and 16. See what you can make of intensive and extensive properites.
We are nearing the completion of our current focus; the dimensions of matter.
Yes, I have tossed in a little on energy in these last lectures - but the primary area of focus has been upon the dimensions of matter; mass, volume, weight, density, and pressure.
Tonight had two threads: density and pressure.
They go nicely together, as the density of a gaseous material can be greatly affected by pressure (and/or temperature)
We wrapped up the issue of density, by really holding to the idea that the density of a substance can be helpful when trying to identify a substance, as the density is a constant at a particular temperature and pressure.
This idea, hopefully dovetails with our lab on measurement. Now, I do understand that the density lab has its errors. That is a conflating issue - but if you look at your data, most will see a pattern of consistency - and that important.
We tried a few problems dealing with density. Note that I am not asking you to calculate densities but to recognize that density is a constant , even as mass and volume change. I think we will see how this works, when we get into intensive and extensive properties of matter (next lecture).
I then asked each of you to consider a bottle of pressurized carbonated seltzer. I removed the carbon dioxide and we went from there.
Pressure is Force/Area, where force is (mass) (acceleration).
Hence we may conclude:
1) Assuming a constant area (length x width) and acceleration, a more massive object (like a bigger molecule) will exert a greater pressure.
2) Assuming a constant force, a molecule of lesser area can exert a greater pressure (High Heels vs. Snowshoes)
Additionally, we live at the bottom of a sea of air!!!! My friend Randy Kasack used to say that all the time.
I like it.
The pressure exerted upon us, due to the atmosphere of gases around and above us, is 1 atmospher (abbreviated as 1 atm). That is 14.7 or roughly 15 lbs/inch^2.
However, we are so constructed that our INTERNAL pressure is also just about 15 lbs/inch^2. Hence we exist in balance with the pressure pushing down and in on us.
This helps us explain how we breathe (for instance). The positions of our ribcage and diagphram are manipulated to increase our thoracic cavity. This increase in volume, causes a decrease in pressure. The pressure drops to just below 1 atm and air is pushed into us, from the exterior of high pressure to the interior at lower pressure.
As this occurs, the ribcage and diaphram are again manipulated (via the medula oblongata's activity) , and the chest cavity's volume is decreased (made smaller). This causes an increase in pressure, just above external atmospheric pressure and air is pushed out.
This is one reason why we can sleep and keep on breathing - our body is so structured as to take advantage of this seeming inverse relationship of pressure and volume. That is, as volume of a cavity increases, the pressure of air in that cavity decreases (as one goes up the other goes down and vice versa).
Okay, I think that's it! We shall hit extensive & intensive properties next, in our drive to look at substances and mixtures. Be sure you have prepared the chromatography lab!
Write with questions.
Monday 1/30: Well we are on page 9 of the notes and we have completed the ideas of mass, weight, volume, density and somewhat done with an introduction to energy. Next is pressure and then we are off to substances and mixtures! We are moving along. These first days take some time to build up our foundation.
I think there are a few key points to review.
The first is the concept of mass and what a tough term it is to define - hence I used the concept of intertia from physics to accomplish the task. This led to the small demonstration (which makes for a cool party trick), of the quarter resting upon a small piece of cardboard on top of a beaker. When flicked away, the quarter simply dropped into the beaker.
The quarter has an inertia (it has a mass at rest), and that quarter remained at rest as the cardboard was removed. This is not too different from ripping a tablecloth from beneath a set of china. However, that is a far more expensive trick - were any errors in timing were made.
We could then compare the issue of greater inertia with a greater mass . It was much more difficult to move the cardboard from under the greater mass.
Off we then went to the term, weight.
Recall that weight is really the dimension we give to a mass in a gravitational field.
Essentially, we only NEED to use the term weight, when we are discussing a mass in different gravitational fields.
Here on Earth, our gravitationsl field is pretty consistent from place to place. Some execeptions, where the gravitational field does change (slightly) is at the equator, atop the highest mountains, or in Death Valley (well below sealevel).
Do you remember my example of our 120 lbs astronaut on Earth? When she travels to the the moon, she doesn't lose an arm, or leg ....She does NOT lose any mass. Yet, on the moon she weighs only 20 lbs.
The moon has one sixth of the gravitational field of the Earth. (Thus, 1/6 of 120 is 20!!!!).
This portion of the lecture, led to my TED talk on Superman😁
We also discussed briefly the effects on human physiology in low gravity. Thus, if we do not adjust in some way, the evironment to compensate for low gravity (such as daily exercise), there may be problems returning back to Earth in time. The atrophy of human muscle does occur in lower gravity.
Once completed we went into a discussion of density. This is another issue most folks do not grasp - and I owe a debt of gratitude to your classmates willing to describe that packed suitcase for a trip to Bermuda.
Density is related to the idea of compactedness (or compactness if you wish) . It helps to describe how closely the matter is packed into a known volume.
I tried to illustrate the effects of greater density using the golf ball in a cylinder of just water and a golf ball in a cylinder of saltwater with an upper layer of pure water. That golf ball floated in the middle of the cylinder, because the saltwater beneath it was denser. The matter was more closely packed in that underlying layer of saltwater. It was more dense than the golf ball, hence the golf ball floated on top of that layer.
I tried hard to distinguish between density and heaviness. The two terms are not interchangeable.
Additionally (and this is important!), density can be used to help us identify a substance, as it is a constant at a known temperature and pressure.
Lab went well. Take a look at those data you derived. Notice how your calculated volume from table 1 was probably quite similar to the volume you determined via water displacement.
Keep in mind the power of averaging in terms of helping with any error in data.
Okay! I think that is a wrap. Write me with concerns/questions.
Thursday 1/26: I think it would be fair to say that last night's lecture had at least two main topics to it.
We did not get very far into the notes - as I am still trying to build a foundation. But we are somewhere between pages 7 and 8. I did run a small demonstration regarding volume. But I have yet to cover the idea of mass. I skipped around a bit.
First: I established that Matter and Energy are conserved in ordinary reaction chemistry reactions. That is I tried to drive home the basic tenets of the Law of the Conservation of Matter and Energy.
This focused upon the idea that matter (and energy) cannot be created or destroyed. What you put in, you must get out. Sure, changes to the matter (and energy) may occur , but if you completely react
72 grams of material then you must produce 72 grams of something else! The atoms do not simply disappear, nor do new atoms just appear.
Secondly: While recognizing there exists a connection between matter and energy (Essentially, matter is incredibly and highly organized energy), I attempted to differentiate between matter and energy as seen or experienced here on Earth in our Everyday Lives.
You can know what something is, but what it isn't - quite often.
This led to a discussion of how we might conceive of energy.
So we got down and dirty to a point, as we dove into a little physics - per our discussion regarding energy as the ability to create a change or to do work.
In order to accomplish this, I first tossed a marker accross the room - to some classmates' delight.
And the point to that, was to illustrate that I did create a change in the pen's position - and it took energy to do that.
If that were unclear, I asked class members to imagine it tossed a 40 lb dumbbell. Most of use could conceive that such an action would take energy and that I not only created a change in the position of the dumbbell, but I was doing some work on my muscles, as well!
So, how does working out involve "energy" of the ability to create a change / to do work?
This allowed me to spend a good long time discussing muscle contraction and relaxation. We covered how muscle fibers slid over each other to create a contraction (this create a change in a mass of tissue, ergo it requires energy to create that change or to do work on the muscle). We discussed the relaxation of the mass of muscle and how the fibers of actin and myosin were essentially held together during the contraction via calcium ion.
Note that this conversation did NOT involve a discussion regarding ATP, and biological energy. Rather, I was trying to be fairly mechanical at this point, by introducing the sliding muscle fiber idea as an example of creating change ...doing work.
The conversation then wandered into the development of cramps (often, when muscles won't relax). This allowed me to weave into the conversation, beyond calcium ion, the requirement of potassium ion and water.
Okay, so those last two or three paragraphs hopefully explained how our work allowed me to meet a number of goals, in terms of helping to teach you.
The examples offered "everyday applications" to the work at hand, as well as having allowed me to integrate a chemical basis (energy, masss, calcium ion, potassium ion, and water) into the conversation.
Biology, (something a whole bunch of us are interested in) is very much based upon chemistry. It allows me to share with others the idea of a more nuanced and web-like structure between the physical and biological universes.
I used my own story regarding the pharmaceutical, gabapentin, to describe the blocking of calcium ion channels to relieve muscle cramping.
A wonderful question evolved regarding menstrual cramping - and I am looking into that so I can offer a more authoritative response.
Towards the end of our work, I asked class members to write down and to share ideas that they were learning. Please understand, studies show that when we write, we are better at committing ideas/ facts / understandings to memory.
I am vastly in favor of students engaging in such closure. I want each of you to walk out with a grasp of the concepts and/or questions! I mean, we are in a University - let's make it count!
We ended with the demonstration regarding volume. The demo also allows us to witness some of the physical characteristics of a liquid. For instance, a liquid tends to take on the shape of the vessel into which it is poured.
There are other physical traits we will look at later.
With the demonstration though, I could also introduce units for volume , such as mL, Liters and cm^3 [cubic centimeter or cc).
Monday night's lab will have us measuring in milimeters but converting to centimeters and then ultimately cubic centimeters as we determine volumes. Don't worry about all of this - I am there to help and we will get through it together and learn, what I hope is an interesting idea about the approaches we take in science. So read through the lab on measurement and density
Okay, I think that is it. Write with questions and/or thoughts. Have a good weekend.
Monday 1/23: I thought you folks were wonderful during class - and then you outdid my expectations in lab! Bravo and Brava!!!!
Well, our first lab is under our respective belts. If you want any sort of help writing the lab report up - or if you have any questions, just drop me a line. We can meet up or due a FaceTime, or just email each other. It will be your "call".
Assignment: Your lab write up is due next Monday, in lab. You should look at the introductory packet to review the format for a lab write-up. You need to answer questions 1, 2 and 6. Be sure to include a title, objective and of course a reflection.
So we are up to page 4 of the notes.
We first went over the quote from page 3 of the notes - You are the stuff of stars kiddos - don't you allow anyone to lead you to believe otherwise!
We backtracked a bit to reemphasize the definitions of science and chemistry, and established that we will focus upon reaction chemistry (which is all about the movement/behavior of electrons).
From there we moved onto the video Cognitive Ease.
My sense is that cognitive ease helps us - it moves us along in understanding conversations and social cues. However, this course will challenge some of the cognitive ease developed in each of us along our way. I ask that you analyze how you think (this connects to the metacognitive work of the Reflection in each lab) and the preconceptions about the physical universe you bring with you to class.
Admist all of this we discussed the meaning of a light year, whether the Sun is burning/on fire, the requirements of fuel and oxygen for a fire, the lack of oxygen in large amounts in outer space and applied Einstein's quote about science being refined everyday thinking.
You see - I struck at your cognitive ease almost immediately by proposing the question: "Is the Sun, on fire (burning)?
The course will ask you to look at things a tad differently than you are used to - and I ask that you try to engage along those lines.
We then tried to work through a means of understanding what is matter and what is energy. And I introduced the idea that very often, in biology and chemistry we can know what something is by what it is not. So, we took a little quiz. The class participation was super!!!!
The takehome message is that we can pretty much recognize matter if it can be put into a balloon and kept there for a while.
Now, this idea works if you want to use a box, or a jar ... I selected to use a balloon as my choice because we can see the change in volume (occupied space) as we add more to a balloon, as the latex will stretch.
This connects to our current understanding of the actual definition of the term matter ... Anything which has mass and occupies volume.
You see, I am trying to connect straigth forward visualizations with technical definitions. And, you did splendidly! I could not ask for anything better, in your responses.
In fact, once you took hold of the idea of a balloon, 100% of those responding produced a 100% correct response to the proposed samples of matter and energy.
I believe you began to see immediately how we can use this metaphor of a balloon to help identify common samples of matter as relative to example of energy! Nice work Folks.
I then wrapped the evening up with a theory of learning, from Robert Marzano.
I urged you to understand that we all learn linguistically, visually, kinesthetically, and emotionally. Most of us have a preferred means. Mine is linguistic. The challenge for students (especially in any course in which you are asked to constantly examine your preconceptions of the world), is to have ideas presented in manners most accessible to their preferred style.
Thus you must keep me honest. If I propose work that you do not understand (because maybe I am lecturing too much), you need to ask questions ... ask me to approach the topic another way. Push me around a little bit, eduactionally speaking.
I felt our second evening went very well. You let me know what you are thinking, if you agree or disagree. Don't hesitate to write - even if you don't have a question about class - just if you are wondering about something you think I might be able to answer.
See you Thursday!
Thursday 1/19: Our first evening class is completed! You have two assignments.
1) Read the Alchemy Lab over. I will bring pennies!
2) Review that Introductory Packet. Come in Monday with any questions about procedures, expectations or any pertinent topic you would like.
In short we ran through the introductory packet. See the first page of this website, Everyday Notes, for a digital copy of the introductory packet.
I stressed the value of and expectation of attendance, and the importance of meeting deadlines.
Remember, even if you are going to get to lecture late, keep going and get in. Do not miss a lab if you can help it. This is a lab course and the labs are worth 25% to 30% of your grade, as well as your first ticket to getting credit for the course.
I stressed the need for citations when researching/handing in written work. (If you look it up, it needs to be cited). Students should never worry about having too many citations - I think it is perfectly reasonable as most of the information is new and as you are researching ideas, they should be cited.
We took a fast look at the conditions of the final paper, and the presentations.
We began the Unit 1 Note packet. The takeaway should really be that this space, our space, is a safe place to try , stretch your skills and maybe try to develop new skills. I will point out where I believe you can improve as well as where you are improving or already terrific.
Okay that's a wrap. Keep in touch. Write if you wish. I will do my best to get back to you in a timely fashion.