Web watch: Tony Tooth looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers

The chemical educator

The Chemical Educator is an bimonthly online American journal available by subscription ($29.95 annually for individuals or $149.95 for educational institutions). Titles and brief resumes of all articles can be viewed without subscription and one sample article is available for free from each issue.  

Chemistry apparatus

Source: Macrovector/Shutterstock

This peer-reviewed journal aims to serve the needs of all chemical education professionals, covering current topics, experiments, and teaching methodology. For articles on practical laboratory procedure the materials needed for implementation, including detailed instructions, student handouts, student data, computer files, and safety and disposal instructions, are available online at the time of publication. A quick look at some of the samples available suggest that many of the lab procedures are more suitable for university-level programmes than schools. For example, an arson investigation is based on gas chromatography. 

There is, however, a wide variety of interesting background reading and extension material available with recent examples of sample articles including: Origami construction of 3D models for fullerenes, carbon nanotubes and associated structuresLecture demonstrations of fluorescence and phosphorescenceand An experimental approach to the precipitation reaction of basic zinc carbonate

Well worth a browse.

Assessment for Learning

Although I've visited the RSC site on several occasions through this column, there's so much stuff hidden away inside LearnNet that I thought this one, recommended by Anthony Hardwicke, RSC schoolteacher fellow from 2008-2009, was well worth flagging up.

Assessment for learning (AFL) seems to be the current buzzword in teaching and this site is packed with resources suitable for supporting this approach. Conveniently broken down into groups - 11-14, 14-16 and post-16 - each resource is also classified as: Working in groupsSelf-assessmentPeer assessmentSharing objectivesQuestioningUsing feedback; and Using tests

The resources can be searched by category, age group or a key word. Those available at 14-16 include: Writing formulae for ionic compoundsHow do alkali metals react with water?Calculations in chemistry; and Think nano. In each case the suggested lesson sequence is accompanied by the recommended AfL content with a commentary on the thinking behind it as well as student sheets and a reference to risk assessment. 

This is an immense resource, well worth a visit, that could save many hours of re-inventing the wheel for busy teachers.