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Using Paperclips To Explain Empirical Formulas to Students

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Burlington High School, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803, United States
Cite this: J. Chem. Educ. 2014, 91, 11, 1934–1938
Publication Date (Web):September 2, 2014
https://doi.org/10.1021/ed4008793
Copyright © 2014 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

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    Abstract

    Early in their chemistry education, students learn to do empirical formula calculations by rote without an understanding of the historical context behind them or the reason why their calculations work. In these activities, students use paperclip “atoms”, construct a series of simple compounds representing real molecules, and discover, just as early chemists knew, that only the empirical formulas could be found from their experimental results even though they do not know the masses of the atoms. These activities, designed for high school or college introductory chemistry, take about 150 min to complete.

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    Cited By

    This article is cited by 3 publications.

    1. Jennifer Koviach-Côté, Alyssa L. Pirinelli. Incorporating Carbohydrates into Laboratory Curricula. Chemical Reviews 2018, 118 (17) , 7986-8004. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemrev.7b00757
    2. Katarina Dass, Michelle L. Head, and Gregory T. Rushton . Building an Understanding of How Model-Based Inquiry Is Implemented in the High School Chemistry Classroom. Journal of Chemical Education 2015, 92 (8) , 1306-1314. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00191
    3. Lucas Vasconcelos, ChanMin Kim. Coding in scientific modeling lessons (CS-ModeL). Educational Technology Research and Development 2020, 68 (3) , 1247-1273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-019-09724-w

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