From our network 23.06.2021

How to teach chemistry online

We have asked the teachers of our network to submit their best teaching examples for STEM classes. And they've delivered. Here are two examples from the UK by Adrian Allan. 

Microscale chemistry – in a little you can see a lot!

A visualiser camera and microscale chemistry apparatus can be used to teach students during Covd-19. This can inspire them by showing that visually appealing and stimulating science demonstrations can be done quickly and cheaply using small quantities of chemicals and simple apparatus. The changes required involved replacing traditional science equipment (bunsen burners, power packs and test tubes) with microscale equipment (dropper bottles, spirit burners made using mini jars and alcohol and batteries with LEDs). The biggest challenge was learning to present science demos in a new way with different apparatus, a microphone and a camera.

We made homemade spirit burners for heating experiments and used bottle tops to contain substances that were heated to show differences in melting points.

With a 9-volt battery with LED, we tested the conductivity and broke up compounds using electrolysis. Dropper bottles were used to react chemicals and test for pH using drops on the laminated sheets. These experiments worked well with a visualiser camera and could be annotated on a laminated sheet. These video demonstrations were saved and posted to pupils to view and used as a recap to help pupils who were absent or self-isolating.

It was useful to perform practical work using a visualiser in class that allowed a socially distanced class to see clearly rather than crowding around a bench. This method of teaching is versatile, inexpensive, and reduces the use of chemicals.

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