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# Blogs

## Chemistry Blogs

I am a High School Science Teacher and we deal with a lot of word problems that contain many variables that could fit into many different equations. Here is how I break down the content step by step for my students.      Physics Problem A box is accelerating across a frictionless surface. It is being pushed with 75 newtons of force and the has a mass of 10 kilograms. What is the magnitude of the box's acceleration?   1) You want to identify and label all variables presented to you in the problem.      Ex: F = 75 N, m = 10 kg   2) Identify and Label the Variable the question is asking you to find.      Ex: a = ?   3) List possible known equations that have the variable you need to solve for.      Ex: a = v/t            F = ma   4) Choose the equation that has variables that are known from the problem.  ... read more

Labs associated with the pre-med sciences are also required, and the difficulty of these labs varies depending on which school you go to.  The most frequent lament by college students is that their labs and lab reports command an unreasonably large chunk of their time, despite being only worth 1 credit.  Most college courses are 3 credits, meaning they meet for three hours of class per week; but labs, usually take anywhere from 3-6 hours per week, and ultimately do not carry much weight in terms of your overall grade in being just one credit.  You would think that the work required to succeed in labs is adjusted proportionally, but it's not. Most labs have weekly reports and a final paper/project at the end of the semester, right before finals begin.  Last year, I spent every Sunday just working on weekly physics lab reports.  I did well, but consistently lost a full day that I could have used towards other work.  That's the dilemma, though.  You... read more

Hi all,     So I've reached capacity again this year on students, but I'm trying something new.  I've created a Waiting List rather than hiding my profile.   I'm curious if I'll have a number of students waiting for the same subjects, which will allow me to come up with new ways to help everyone.  Perhaps if I have several students uptown (or wherever) I will be able to offer a group lesson that any/everybody working on the same subjects can attend and help out people on the waiting list. If you're looking to get inspired about Chemistry, I recommend you check out the very cool reactions in this video:  http://time.com/3481898/amazing-chemical-reactions-true-beauty-of-science/   Or if you're a student (or a parent) trying to convince yourself (or your child) about the importance of working hard at Math & Science, I recommend checking out these infographics: http://www.vox.com/2014/10/7/6910485/13-charts-that-explain-why-your-college-major-matters   Hope... read more

Chemistry, in my opinion, is the most widely applied subject in the educational system. You can apply chemistry when you're cooking, cleaning, filling up your car, brewing beer or wine, welding, dating (carbon and speed dating), and thousands of industrial processes. I once heard from one of my chemistry professors, Dr. Chad Morris, "Chemistry is applied physics, and physics is applied math." Therefore physics, chemistry, and math all work in harmony.   You probably apply chemistry every day and don't realize it. When you make coffee in the morning, ever wondered about the chemistry involved in making a cup of joe? You have to first grind the roasted coffee beans to expose the caffeine and flavor compounds housed within the beans. You then have to filter hot water through the grinds to extract the much needed caffeine and flavors. Water works as a solvent to dissolve the polar caffeine and flavor molecules which pass through the coffee filter and into your... read more

I think, by far, the most important part of being successful in organic chemistry is the ability to stay on top of the material. I'll start with this piece of advice for those you who are planning on completing both sections.     Make flashcards.   I know, I know, it's advice that everyone gives for every type of memorization, but I think that it especially helps with the amount of new reactions that you will see, especially in orgo II.   My recipe for the cards is to make cards that have the reactant(s) and the reagent(s) with a question mark where the product(s) would be.   e.g. CH3CHCHCH3 -----Br2----->  ?     This way will help you to recognize which reagents do what.   The other style is to leave out the reagents.   e.g. CH3CHCHCH3 -----?-----> CH3CHBrCHBrCH3   (You'll want to draw them out probably, but this software doesn't allow that)   If... read more

If you are like me, you want to get a head start on things -- "hit the ground running," as they say. What better way than to get started on the new year in academics! I always found that when I was in high school or college, summer reading was very enjoyable. There were no deadlines -- I could nestle up by a tree and read for hours. I recommend giving it a shot.   When it comes to chemistry, what better way to get started than reading some basics. One of my favorites is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. It is a great overview of science in general. I also recommend John Gribbin's In Search of Schrodinger's Cat. It is an amazing story about the discovery of quantum mechanics and is a must for all explorers of science.   It is also a good idea to get a chemistry set and do some basic chemistry experiments. It is a fun and interesting activity! A lot of chemistry experiments can even be done in one's own... read more

I have found many schools unable to expose students to math and science in the laboratory environment due to costs. I have found a great place fro students to work on all kinds of math and science activities on line. I have all of my students work on the speed drill under arithmetic. Fluency in math is critical.  Please take a look at this website and let me know what you think.   http://phet.colorado.edu

The education system, such a complex and convoluted series of practices and hierarchies, where does the student of the 21st century fit? Education now-a-days seems to have a greater goal of higher efficiency compared to student individuality in the class room. With a ballooning population, low teacher salaries, and out dated resources, we are in for a crisis situation in the coming decades with our current system. So many individuals I know that have entered the teaching field with the mind set that they are going to shake things up, and really start to perpetuate a difference, have more often than not been met with stark opposition and resistance. Something that people may find counter-intuitive at best. The education system isn't going to change overnight, that the beauty of incorporating a tutor into a student's life. This gives the student the individual one on one attention that a growing, curious mind deserves. I'm a scientist in my day to day life, holding a BS in Microbiology... read more

Let us be brutally honest here. You, the student, have spent the last few weeks agonizing over doing well on the chemistry regents and subsequently had nightmares about the prospects. Even being a victim of Freddie Krueger “Nightmare on Elm Street” seemed to have much more appeal than preparing and taking the chemistry regents. On the BIG day you probably put on a good face as you made your way to your seat. Then, you sat down just in time so that your classmates didn’t see your knees knocking together and detect that anything was amiss. Once the test started you turned the pages and looked at the problems. At this moment you wished you could just get up and leave and never come back. Instead, you take a few minutes and hope that the question would somehow trigger some signal in your brain that would unearth some forgotten memory of how to solve the problem in front of you... read more

The school year is nicely wrapped up and New York students are filled with trepidation at the prospect of encountering the chemistry regents face to face which is just a few short days away. Next Tuesday to be exact. Admittedly, there is not much time to learn concepts that should have been learned earlier on in the school year but if you absorbed just a few critical elements along the way you should do pretty well. In other words, you need to put your thinking caps on. One thing that you should have picked up is the concept of the ionic bond. In everyday English, this translates to an electron from an atom( the less electronegative one) is literally transferred to the atom with the greatest electronegativity. Electronegativity is in my estimation is a hunger for electrons in an atom by another dissimilar atom. It actually is an electrostatic attraction for the electron from the lesser electronegative atom. The electron that was transferred... read more

The school year is nicely wrapped up and New York students are filled with trepidation at the prospect of encountering the chemistry regents face to face which is just a few short days away. Next Tuesday to be exact. Admittedly, there is not much time to learn concepts that should have been learned earlier on in the school year but if you absorbed just a few critical elements along the way you should do pretty well. In other words, you need to put your thinking caps on. One thing that you should have picked up is the concept of the ionic bond. In everyday English, this translates to an electron from an atom( the less electronegative one) is literally transferred to the atom with the greatest electronegativity. Electronegativity is in my estimation is a hunger for electrons in an atom by another dissimilar atom. It actually is an electrostatic attraction for the electron from the lesser electronegative atom. The electron that was transferred... read more

As human beings with limited time, energy, and resources, we naturally desire to get the most done with the least amount of work possible. From reading books and experimenting throughout the years, I have accumulated a collection of techniques that maximizes efficiency and has allowed me to achieve a 3.93 GPA while studying less than three hours a day. Below are some of these techniques. Although I have separated it in general and chemistry study tips sections, these study tips can be applied to every class you will ever take in high school & college. Furthermore, some of these tips, especially the blocking technique, will skyrocket your ability to get more done in less time not only in school, but in life in general. I hope these tips will benefit you as much as they have and continue to help me. General Study Tips 1. Study in purely focused block periods Our body functions in cycles. For example, our circadian rhythm dictates when we sleep... read more

It is natural that as tutors we get called in to the help kids that are struggling.  It is no surprise that almost 100% of my students have attention problems.  I love to see the beauty in these kids' minds.  They can be so talented.  But the drawback is when you have to tutor them in a subject they don't enjoy or shine at.  I find myself constantly trying to keep things exciting and they usually respond.  But what do you do when the kid who has been doing his best just gives you the cold shoulder, falls asleep in your one-on-one lesson, or is just staring into space?  I know from experience that not everything is going into a black hole when I am explaining something to a "zoned-out" student.  But what do you do on days when you know everything you are saying IS going in a black hole?  Please share your tips!