• 18 Sep 2017

    Laying the Foundation

    Submitted by Sheila Smith, University of Michigan- Dearborn

    I'm just starting the third week of my Foundations Inorganic Course, which I like to call GenChem III. This is the course where I tell my science majors the "why?" behind all those pesky Periodic Trends we made them memorize in GenChem. I teach my course pretty heavily focused on bonding and much less on Periodicity. But we do spend some time early on in the course on the orbitals, shielding effects and the repercussions on periodicity.

  • 1 Sep 2017

    The Name Game

    Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

    It's that time of year when there are lots of eager young faces looking at me in my general chemistry lecture. And with those faces comes a long list of names that I have to try and attach to those faces. Of my many faults, perhaps the worst is my ability to remember names. I am very bad at it, especially when I get more than one new name at a time. An additional complication is that I only see these students on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the long layoff really hurts.

  • 15 Aug 2017

    Papers for Pedagogy

    Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

    About 1 year ago I was invited to attend an editorial board meeting for Organometallics. It was incredibly interesting to be on that side of the discussion and I got a lot out of it. For me, the most significant was the hatching of an exciting new idea about teaching--a virtual issue with a VIPEr theme. I was very excited that the editor-in-chief of the journal, Paul Chirik, was supportive of this idea and I knew that I needed to make this happen quickly.

  • 24 Jul 2017

    Big news!

    Submitted by Flo, Slytherin' State

    I don't like to toot my own horn, but I have some pretty big news to announce to the community. I have just received word from the National Science Foundation that I am receiving a new grant! Oh sure, the leadership council will claim to be responsible for this funding (especially Joanne Stewart, Barb Reisner and Jeff Raker the PI's), but we all really know that I am the one pulling the strings with this whole organizaiton. What does this mean for you, our loyal BITeS readers? Plenty! We have some bold ideas for shaping foundation level inorganic courses. We will be holding more workshops.

  • 17 Jul 2017

    You've come a long way baby, or have you?

    Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

    Going to a Gordon Research Conference, I expected I would come back and write a BITEs post about some of the great chemistry I saw and how I was inspired to do a million different experiments. While that is partly true, the conference proved to be extremely educational in a way I did not expect. It started early in the conference when a tenured faculty member at a research university told a story of how older male colleagues would whistle at her on days she was a bit more fancily dressed.

  • 5 Jul 2017

    POGIL-Type Materials for Inorganic Chemistry

    Submitted by Joseph Keane, Muhlenberg College

    In response to a talk I gave at the Mid-atlantic ACS Regional Meeting, the friendly VIPEr folks asked me to write a BITes about my POGIL-type materials for inorganic chemistry. Very briefly, POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) is an active-learning model intended to supplant traditional lectures. Students work in groups on carefully written materials (“Activities”) that guide them to a more independent development of key concepts and course content.

  • 27 Jun 2017

    Technology for research?

    Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

    We're right in the midst of summer research season and around the chemistry department at Lafayette that can only mean one thing, video scavenger hunt time. As a department we try and do one fun event a week with the students. That can be things like a movie, mini-golf, bowling, etc. 14 years ago I came up with the idea of creating a photo scavenger hunt for the students and it was quite a hit. This morphed into a video scavenger hunt 11 years ago. From its humble beginnings it has grown quite significantly.

  • 20 Jun 2017

    Appendix 9 - Scientific Writing Tips from Professor Johnson

    Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College

    My inorganic chemistry lab manual has all sorts of policies, procedures, experimental instructions, and examples of what to do in the lab and for the writeups. My manual is quite specific in how I want lab reports to appear, and what I want in them. For example, I want a reaction scheme, a reagent table, an evaluation of possible characterization methods (with limited time, which methods are the best to do first?), a detailed experimental section and a complete, open-ended, discussion that analyzes the data from their synthetic reaction.

  • 5 Jun 2017

    Good MARMing, Hershey!

    Submitted by Flo, Slytherin' State
    I've been on the road since Thursday, doing what VIPErs do best. My first stop was at Franklin & Marshall College to see old friends like Kate Plass and meet some new friends at a mini-workshop on developing literature discussions. It was a pretty intense 40 hours but well worth it. Look out for 10 new learning objects on 5 primary research articles concerning solids & materials and interesting bonding to appear as new content soon, just in time for you to incorporate into your fall inorganic course.