The Zinc and Iodine Book: Building Fundamental Knowledge with Thematic Laboratory Activities for the Chemistry Educator

The Zinc and Iodine Book: Building Fundamental Knowledge with Thematic Laboratory Activities for the Chemistry Educator

by Stephen DeMeo


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This book is for chemistry teachers who are thinking about reinventing their laboratory experiments that they provide to their students. More than a collection of experiments, it is an example of using a chemical theme to teach chemistry. Instead of introducing many different chemicals per experiment as is the norm in most lab manuals, this novel resource focuses on two commonly found elements: Zinc and Iodine.

So what is so special about these elements? At the heart of this resource is a colorful cyclic reaction between zinc and iodine, one that produces a compound that can decompose back to its original elements. This unique phenomenon demonstrates that matter not only changes, but is also conserved through a chemical reaction. Knowing that a compound can be the "same but different" than the reactants that formed it, is to understand the essence of chemical change.

Complementing this reaction, this book contains experimental activities that utilize the zinc and iodine theme to scaffold new concepts such as the properties of matter, solid and gas stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, acid-base chemistry, and electrochemistry. This teacher tested resource focuses on a set of safe substances that are appropriate for high school teachers who provide an advanced chemistry placement course and for college instructors teaching a first-year chemistry laboratory sequence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781627347167
Publication date: 06/01/2019
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Stephen DeMeo is a Professor of Chemistry and Science Education at Hunter College where these experiments have been used by students for over 15 years. He has written numerous articles for the Journal of Chemical Education and has authored books on such topics as problem solving and inquiry teaching.

Table of Contents


• Thematic-based Laboratory Curricula

• Working like a Scientist

• Cognitive Learning Theory and Thematic Curricula

• The Uniqueness of Zinc, Iodine and Zinc Iodide

• The Versatility of a Chemical Theme

• Safety

• Introducing the Chemical Activities

1 From a Mixture to an Element

• How can I make a pharmaceutical product from seaweed?

• Can a single substance be isolated from a mixture

(e.g. seaweed)? What is this substance?

2 Physical Properties of Zinc

and Iodine

• How well does the appearance and solubility, of iodine and zinc respectively compare with information

presented in the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and


• What is the graphical (graph shape), mathematical (equation of the graph) and numerical (value of

slope and y-intercept) relationship between the mass

of a piece of zinc and the volume of space it occupies?

3 Synthesizing a Compound

from its Elements:

A Qualitative Experiment

• What happens qualitatively on both the macroscopic

and atomic levels when zinc, iodine and acidified water are mixed? Does a reaction occur?

• If a reaction does take place, are the physical and

chemical properties of the substances, isolated during and after the mixing, the same as or different

from those of iodine and zinc? Explain using your

reaction as an example.

• What are the identities of the three substances that

were isolated?

• Is there a way to put energy into zinc iodide in order

to regain the elements, zinc and iodine? If there is a

way, how does it happen?

• What are the identities of the substances found after

electrolysis and heating?

4 Synthesizing a Compound from

its Elements: A Quantitative


• Is mass conserved in the chemical reaction between

zinc and iodine?

5 Investigating a Side Reaction

• When acidified water is not used in the zinc and iodine synthesis, zinc hydroxide is formed. How can it

be identified based on its amphoteric nature?

6 An Alternative Synthesis

• Should chemists prepare zinc iodide, from its elements or from a double replacement reaction between barium iodide and zinc sulfate? (Compare the

two reactions in terms of yield, ease, purity, safety,

reaction time, waste production, and cost.)

7 Performing a Titration to

Quantify a Product

• What is the percent zinc of zinc iodide as deter-

mined by a titrimetric analysis?

• What is the percent zinc of an unknown zinc com-

pound as determined by a titrimetric analysis?

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