• Safety with Chemical Demonstrations



Safety with Chemical Demonstrations

Learning is a multisensory process, especially in the physical sciences. Students must experience science through active participation, not just by sitting through an instructor monologue. While this author strongly encourages the use of demonstrations and hands-on activities in the classroom, safety for working with chemicals of all kinds is imperative. (See the Compleat Chymical Demonstrator.)

Demonstrations and activities are an essential part of active learning. A recent report has confirmed that students get better grades and fail less when professors use active-learning methods in the classroom (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2014, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111). This author, however, has experienced students, at all levels, around the world, who never experienced demonstrations and/or hands-on activities in their academic career.

These are PDF files and require Acrobat Reader

Safety With Chemical Demonstrations

Chemical Demonstrations: The good, the bad, and the ugly - This describes a number of accidents that occurred with chemical demonstrations, dangerous demonstrations, limits of published demonstration guidelines, and recommendations and procedures for safer demonstrations. Yes, you can do a Rainbow Flame Demonstration. (This was previously presented, in part, as an oral paper at the 251st ACS National Meeting, San Diego, CA, in 2016.)

Reference and background information:

The Art of Effective Demonstrations

The First Day

Science Demonstrations, Experiments, and Resources: A Reference List for Elementary through College Teachers Emphasizing Chemistry with some Physics and Life Science

Common Chemicals and Supplies in and Around Your Home - Includes a table of mass-volume equivalents for selected chemicals.

Safer alternatives to fire and explosions in classroom demonstrations by David A. Katz. Published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, 36 (1994) 149-158.

Internet Sources for Chemistry Demonstrations:

At this time, Tested Demonstrations in Chemistry by Hubert Alyea and Frederic Dutton, is not available as an ebook on the Internet. This is the classic book on chemical demonstrations, compiled from the Journal of Chemical Education, however there are a lot of safety issues with many of the demonstrations. Used editions may be available from booksellers.

Tested Demonstrations in Chemistry, the revised and udated version by George Gilbert, is not available as an ebook on the Internet. George Gilbert combined and updated many of the demonstrations in the original book by Alyea and Dutton and removed many of the hazardous procedures. Used editions may be available from booksellers.

Classic Chemical Demonstrations 100 chemistry demonstration from the Royal society of Chemistry

Chemical Demonstration Booklet prepared by Magda Wajrak, school of Natuaral Sciences, Edith Cowan University