Earth's Atmosphere and Beyond. JCE Resources for Chemistry and

1106. Journal of Chemical Education • Vol. 80 No. 10 October 2003 • NCW 2003: Earth's Atmosphere and Beyond. JCE Resources ...
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Chemical Education Today

NCW 2003: Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond

JCE Resources for Chemistry and the Atmosphere


by Erica K. Jacobsen photo by NASA Discovery Mission

The past few years have led me to view the Journal of Chemical Education as its own vast universe. For four years now I have sifted through JCE articles for a resource paper to tie in to each year’s National Chemistry Week theme. Each year is a bit of a struggle to telescope the multitude of articles to a reasonable number. It is difficult to determine what the theme could mean and how that will reflect itself in the choice of articles. I can have something in mind, but when I start to look through the results of a JCE index search, finding unexpected types of articles can change my mind or take the resource paper in a new direction. When you hear each theme, you may think of different ideas than I did. Where will we go this year? The theme “Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond” leads us to articles about the moon and space travel. But how can we talk to students about the atmosphere without talking about gases, such as oxygen, or air pressure? My interpretation of this year’s theme follows, with articles on a wide variety of subjects within the overall theme. As has been done with past NCW themes (1–3), this annotated bibliography collects the best that past issues of JCE have to offer for use with this year’s National Chemistry Week. Each article has been characterized as an activity, book review, calculation, demonstration, experiment, informational, or software/video item; several fit more than one classification. The most recent articles are listed first. An indication of the levels the article may serve are included. Articles that appeared adaptable to other levels, but not designed explicitly for those levels, are labeled “poss. h.s.” “poss.

Stars and their role in the formation of certain elements are discussed in “News from Online: The Chemistry of Beyond”.

elem.”, and so forth. Since all references are to Journal articles, they appear in abbreviated form, including only year, volume, page. WSpecial

JCE Online Supplements

The full text of all articles described in this resource paper are available to subscribers in this issue of JCE Online. Literature Cited 1. Jacobsen, E. K. J. Chem. Educ. 2002, 79, 1162. 2. Jacobsen, E. K. J. Chem. Educ. 2001, 78, 1316. 3. Jacobsen, E. K. J. Chem. Educ. 2000, 77, 1256.

Erica K. Jacobsen is Associate Editor, Secondary School Chemistry, JCE; [email protected].

✰ Resources for Chemistry and the Atmosphere

photo by J. J. Jacobsen

Oxygen–Abundant and Essential. Quinsey, C. S.; 2003, 80, 1124. Informational; h.s./coll. This report describes a symposium held in 2003 that had as its focus oxygen—from its discovery to current research.

Liquid oxygen is held between the poles of a magnet, illustrating oxygen’s paramagnetism.


News from Online: The Chemistry of Beyond. Michalovic, M.; 2003, 80, 1119. Activity/Informational; h.s./coll. Briefly describes Web sites that cover topics relating to the chemistry of the universe.

Nature: Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond. Heinhorst, S.; Cannon, G.; 2003, 80, 1115. Informational; h.s./coll. Briefly describes recent articles from Nature that relate to the theme “Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond”. The Discovery of Oxygen and Other Priestley Matters. Williams, K.; 2003, 80, 1129. Informational; h.s./coll. This “From Past Issues” article summarizes Joseph Priestley’s life and achievements, including information from past JCE articles.

The aurora australis “Southern Lights” as seen from south of Australia, photographed from the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Journal of Chemical Education • Vol. 80 No. 10 October 2003 •

photo by NASA

Where There’s Fire There’s… Wright, S. W.; 2003, 80, 1160A. Activity; h.s./coll. Students compare the combustion of different substances in air, oxygen, exhaled breath, and carbon dioxide atmospheres. Household chemicals are used to generate small amounts of O2 and CO2.

Chemical Education Today

NCW 2003: Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond

✰ Resources for Chemistry and the Atmosphere, continued News from Online: In a Planet, Not a Test Tube: Atmospheric Chemistry. Michalovic, M.; 2003, 80, 362. Activity/Informational; h.s./coll. Briefly describes ten Web sites students can investigate to discover more about atmospheric chemistry.

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Volume 80, Number 3 March 2003 Journal of


Teaching Chemistry Using From the Earth to the Moon. Goll, J. G.; Mundinger, S. L.; 2003, 80, 292. Informational; h.s./coll. Describes ways in which the movie series From the Earth to the Moon can be used to illustrate concepts in a chemistry class.

The March 2003 cover of the Journal shows images from Apollo 17, the final lunar landing mission.

Chemistry Comes Alive! Vol. 5. Jacobsen, J. J.; Johnson, K.; Moore, J. W.; Trammell, G.; 2001, 78, 423. Chemistry Comes Alive! Vol. 1. Jacobsen, J. J.; Moore, J. W.; 2000, 77, 671. [Both volumes are available from JCE Software.] Software/video; h.s./coll./poss. elem. QuickTime video is available for the following: Vol. 5: “Combustion Reactions”. Shows combustion reactions of methane, hydrogen–oxygen soap bubbles, and hexane. Vol. 1: “Atmospheric Pressure” and “Gas Volume”. Shows examples of the classic can crush demonstration.

”Experiment with a Candle” without a Candle. Krnel, D.; Glazar, S. A.; 2001, 78, 914. Demonstration/Experiment; h.s./coll. Uses a beaker, burner, and dish of water to illustrate the warming and cooling effects of gases commonly overlooked in the classic lit candle in a beaker–percent oxygen of air experiment.

Oxygen. Djerassi, C.; Hoffmann, R., reviewed by Kovac, J.; 2002, 79, 436. Oxygen. Djerassi, C.; Hoffmann, R.; 2001, 78, 283. Book review/Informational; h.s./coll. Describes the play and published script of Oxygen, first performed in 2001. Its theme is scientific discovery as illustrated by the discovery of oxygen.

Using the Apollo Moon Missions To Teach Chemistry 292 Dealing with Disabilities 275, 295 Teaching Organic Chemistry 294, 299, 311–315, 330–345 Virtual Laboratories 346

Just Breathe: The Oxygen Content of Air; JCE Classroom Activity #35. JCE Editorial Staff; 2001, 78, 512A. Activity; h.s./coll. Students use steel wool, water, and vinegar to determine the oxygen content of air.

photos by authors

Local Atmospheric Chemistr y and Ozone Model (LACOM). Pirjola, L.; 2000, 77, 1650. Software; h.s./coll. Describes the educational uses of LACOM software, a tropospheric chemistry box model. Students collect data such as temperature, relative humidity, and type and amount of clouds for input. Determination of the Oxygen Content of Air (Letter to the Editor). Braathen, P. C.; 2000, 77, 1410. Experiment; h.s./coll. Describes possible modifications (use of household vinegar) in the determination of the oxygen content of air experiments. A More Dramatic Container to Crush by Atmospheric Pressure. Meyers, R. D.; Yee, G. T.; 1999, 76, 933. Demonstration; h.s./coll. Uses 20-liter steel solvent drums in the well-known demonstration of crushing an aluminum beverage can using atmospheric pressure.

“’Experiment with a Candle’ without a Candle” illustrates principles commonly overlooked in a percent of oxygen experiment. One first catches combusion gases in a beaker (left), heats an upright beaker over a flame (right), then inverts each beaker in a dish of water.

The Persistence of the Candle-and-Cylinder Misconception. Birk, J. P.; Lawson, A. E.; 1999, 76, 914. Informational; h.s./coll. Presents evidence that the candle-and-cylinder experiment is not an accurate method for determining the percent of oxygen in air. Cites several valid methods.

photos by J. J. Jacobsen

A balloon containing methane is ignited, illustrating the combustion of methane. From Chemistry Comes Alive! Volume 5. • Vol. 80 No. 10 October 2003 • Journal of Chemical Education


Chemical Education Today

NCW 2003: Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond

✰ Resources for Chemistry and the Atmosphere, continued

Periodic Tables of Elemental Abundance. Dutch, S. I.; 1999, 76, 356. Informational; h.s./coll. Shows elemental abundances in the sun, chondritic meteorites, Earth’s crust, and the moon and discusses their significance. Before There Was Chemistry: The Origin of the Elements as an Introduction to Chemistry. Glickstein, N.; 1999, 76, 353. Informational; h.s. Describes how topics traditionally covered in introductory chemistry can be introduced using cosmology. Includes some of the content (science of the early universe, life cycle of stars) and materials the author uses in lesson planning. Gas Experiments with Plastic Soda Bottles. Kavanah, P.; Zipp, A. P.; 1998, 75, 1405. Demonstration/Experiment; all levels Describes an inexpensive modification to a soda bottle and experiments for the apparatus, such as showing air has mass, and determining the density and molar mass of air. Thermal Physics (and Some Chemistry) of the Atmosphere. Lower, S. K.; 1998, 75, 837. Informational; h.s./coll. Describes some of the thermal characteristics, chemistry, and processes that occur in the atmosphere. Published in the “Chemistry Everyday for Everyone” section. Why Does Helium Have 92% of the Lifting Power of Hydrogen if It Has Twice the Density? Ball, D. W.; 1998, 75, 726. Calculation; h.s./coll. Through calculation, answers the question stated in the title. Discusses how the rising of blimps and balloons are applications of Archimedes’ principle of buoyancy.

photo by authors

Teaching Chemistry Using the Movie Apollo 13. Goll, J. G.; Woods, B. J.; 1999, 76, 506. Informational; h.s./coll. Describes ways in which the movie Apollo 13 can be used to illustrate concepts in a chemistry class. An air sampler created using instructions from “A Simple and Low-Cost Air Sampler”.

A Simple and Low-Cost Air Sampler. Saxena, S., Upadhyay, R. and P.; 1996, 73, 787. Experiment; h.s./coll. Describes an air sampler kit that can be made inexpensively with mostly household materials. Sampling and Analyzing Air Pollution. An Apparatus Suitable for Use in Schools. Rockwell, D. M.; Hansen, T.; 1994, 71, 318. Experiment; all levels Describes how to construct two inexpensive variations of an air sampler and analyzers. Includes ideas for how the equipment can be used in classrooms, from elementary to upper levels. How Vacuum Cleaners Pick Up Paper: Demonstrating the Relationship between Air Pressure and Vacuums. Neils, T. L.; 1993, 70, 327. Demonstration; h.s./coll. Shows that air exerts a force on all objects and that pressure differences can cause nonrigid containers to collapse. Uses a vacuum cleaner with a hose, paper, and a sheet of silicone rubber. Oxygen. Banks, A.; 1990, 67, 298. Informational; h.s./coll. Briefly describes oxygen, some of its compounds, uses, and history. Nitrogen. Banks, A.; 1990, 67, 215. Informational; h.s./coll. Briefly describes nitrogen, some of its compounds, uses, and history. A Metal Bar to Demonstrate One Atmosphere. Meloan, C. E.; 1988, 65, 69. Demonstration; h.s./coll. Describes an iron bar that weighs 14.7 lb and has an end 1.00inch2. Students can place the bar on the toe of their shoe or lift the bar to see what one atmosphere of air “feels” like.

An illustration of the pyrolysis of saltpeter, a reaction Cornelis Drebbel used to produce oxygen. From Drebbel, C. J. van de Natuere der elementen; Rotterdam, 1621; p 32.


Demonstrating the Chemistry of Air Pollution. Hollenberg, J. L.; Stephens, E. R.; Pitts, J. N., Jr.; 1987, 64, 893. Demonstration; h.s./coll. Three demonstrations that illustrate reactions involved in air pollution: deterioration of rubber in ozone, creation of smog with lemon peel and ozone, and formation of NO2.

Journal of Chemical Education • Vol. 80 No. 10 October 2003 •

Chemical Education Today

NCW 2003: Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond

Scheele’s Priority for the Discover y of Oxygen. Cassebaum, H.; Schufle, J. A.; 1975, 52, 442. Informational; h.s./coll. Provides reasoning for why Scheele should have historical priority for the actual discovery of oxygen. The Januar y 1987 cover of the Journal shows a split image of a U.S. space shuttle. The right half shows a “heat picture” made by an airborne IR telescope as the shuttle re-entered the atmosphere.

Percent Oxygen in Air. Martins, G. F.; 1987, 64, 809. Experiment; h.s./coll. Describes a modification of the determination of percent oxygen in air. Includes variations suitable for levels from descriptive to honors chemistry. Using NASA and the Space Program to Help High School and College Students Learning Chemistry. Part II. The Current State of Chemistry in the Space Program. Kelter, P. B.; Snyder, W. E.; Buchar, C. S.; 1987, 64, 228. Calculations/Informational; h.s./coll. Discusses the then-current (1987) state of space-related research and manufacturing techniques. Focuses on spectroscopy, materials processing, electrochemistry, and analysis. Includes calculations and questions for students. Using NASA and the Space Program to Help High School and College Students Learn Chemistry. Part 1. The Shuttle and Our Living Earth. Kelter, P. B.; Snyder, W. E.; Buchar, C. S.; 1987, 64, 60. Calculations/Informational; h.s./coll. Discusses some of the chemical concepts that the space program illustrates in the areas of environmental chemistry and biochemistry. Includes calculations and questions for students.

The Apollo Missions and the Chemistry of the Moon. Pacer, R. A.; Ehmann, W. D.; 1975, 52, 350. Informational; coll./poss. h.s. Presents information on the principal chemical features of the Moon, in light of the Apollo missions. Discusses general physical features of the Moon, along with theories of the origin of the Moon. Steps Leading to the Discovery of Oxygen, 1774. A Bicentennial Tribute to Joseph Priestley. Neville, R. G.; 1974, 51, 428. Informational; h.s./coll. Reviews the sequence of events preceding the discovery of oxygen, including the work of scientists before Priestley, as well as Priestley’s work. The Cabin Atmosphere in Manned Space Vehicles. Bowman, W. H.; Lawrence, R. M.; 1971, 48, 152. Informational; h.s./coll. Discusses the science behind the selection of the cabin atmosphere of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo manned space vehicles. Air Pollution. Hinch, N.; 1969, 46, 93. Informational; h.s./coll. Discusses the history of air pollution through the 1960s, including the definition of air pollution, causes, and effects. The Discovery of Oxygen. Partington, J. R.; 1962, 39, 123. Informational; h.s./coll. Discusses why Priestley should be credited with the date of discovery of oxygen as August 1, 1774. Briefly discusses Scheele’s work on oxygen.

The Density and Apparent Molecular Weight of Air. A Simple Introductory Experiment. Harris, A. D.; 1984, 61, 74. Experiment; h.s./coll. Students measure the density of air using mass, volume, and temperature readings. A General Chemistry Experiment for the Determination of the Oxygen Content of Air. Birk, J. P.; McGrath, L.; Gunter, S. K.; 1981, 58, 804. Experiment; h.s./coll. Students determine the percentage by volume of oxygen in air using the rusting of steel wool. Cornelis Drebbel and Oxygen. van Spronsen, J. W.; 1977, 54, 157. Informational; h.s./coll. Briefly describes the history of Cornelis Drebbel, who prepared oxygen two centuries before Priestley.

A por trait of Joseph Priestley, who is frequently credited with the discovery of oxygen. • Vol. 80 No. 10 October 2003 • Journal of Chemical Education