Chemical Information Sources/Teaching and Studying Chemistry

Introduction edit

It is sometimes the case that a chemist is asked to teach a course with little or no guidance or preparation. Likewise, students could often profit from consulting supplemental materials to assist in understanding certain aspects of chemistry. This chapter will lead you to materials and sources that will be useful for both teaching and studying chemistry.

Teaching of Chemistry edit

Aspects about teaching of chemistry include standards and guidelines; books for both new and experienced chemistry instructors that includes a number of recently published titles in the ACS Symposium Series; chemistry demonstration books; journals, magazines, and newsletters that are useful both for keeping current with changes happening in chemical education as well as being a source to publish articles for chemical educators; and key databases for discovering new chemical education articles.

Standards and Guidelines edit

Books for Chemistry Educators edit

A number of books have become available to teach you how to teach chemistry, particularly at the post-secondary level.

ACS Symposium Series volumes for sessions organized by the ACS Division of Chemical Education includes an array of titles for chemistry educators:

Books for Science Educators edit

For science education resources and research in chemistry/science education, please see:

  • A handbook for teachers in universities & colleges: a guide to improving teaching methods (4th Edition, 2006) provides practical guidance on planning courses, preparing and using teaching materials, and assessing students' work.
  • Teaching and Learning Science: A Handbook (2006) is a two-volume set that consists of 66 chapters written by more than 90 leading educators and scientists. Contributions touch on many of the most controversial topics facing science educators and students today, such as the achievement gaps faced by girls, ethnic minority children, and English learners. The volumes are arranged according to themes that are central to science education: language and scientific literacy, home and school relationships, equity, new roles for teachers and students, connecting science to other areas of the curriculum, resources for teachers and learners, and science in the news.
  • Handbook of Research on Science Education (2013) provides a comprehensive, coherent, current synthesis of the empirical and theoretical research concerning teaching and learning in science and lays down a foundation upon which future research can be built. The contributors, all leading experts in their research areas, represent the international and gender diversity that exists in the science education research community. The National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) endorses this Handbook as an important and valuable synthesis of the current knowledge in the field of science education by leading individuals in the field.
  • Theoretical Frameworks for Research in Chemistry/Science Education (2007) by George Bodner, part of the Prentice Hall Series in Educational Innovation, is the first book devoted entirely to describing and critiquing the various theoretical frameworks used in chemistry education/science education research – with explicit examples of related studies. It provides a broad spectrum of theoretical perspectives upon which readers can base educational research. Includes an extensive list of relevant references and presents a consistent framework for each subject area/chapter. It is a useful guide for practicing chemists, chemistry instructors, and chemistry educators for learning how to do basic educational research within the context of their own instructional laboratories and classrooms.
  • Key websites that contain more educational science publications:
American Chemical Society > Educational Resources > ACS Education Publications
National Science Teachers Association
STEM Education: A Collection of Titles from the National Academies Press

Books for Chemical Demonstrations edit

Below is a selected list of books that can be used by instructors for chemical demonstrations. To view recent chemical demonstrations articles from Journal of Chemical Education, please see Journals of Chemical Education > Demonstrations or articles indexed in ERIC, a free education database, please see ERIC > Demonstrations (Educational) or ERIC > Demonstrations (Science)

  • Shakhashiri, Bassam Z. 1983-2011. Chemical demonstrations: a handbook for teachers of chemistry. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press. "Shakhashiri and his collaborators offer 282 chemical demonstrations arranged in 11 chapters. Each demonstration includes seven sections: a brief summary, a materials list, a step-by-step account of procedures to be used, an explanation of the hazards involved, information on how to store or dispose of the chemicals used, a discussion of the phenomena displayed and principles illustrated by the demonstration, and a list of references." (Publisher's description)
Volume 1: Contents: 1. Thermochemistry 2. Chemiluminescence 3. Polymers 4. Color and Equilibria of Metal Ion Precipitates and Complexes
Volume 2: Contents: 5. Physical Behavior of Gases 6. Chemical Behavior of Gases 7. Oscillating Chemical Reactions
Volume 3: Contents: 8. Acids and Bases 9. Liquids, Solutions, and Colloids
Volume 4: Contents: 10. Clock Reactions 11. Electrochemistry: Batteries, Electrolytic Cells, and Plating
Volume 5: Contents: 12. Color, Light, Vision, Perception
  • Khee, Seah Wee. 2008. CheMagic: 50 Chemistry Classics and Magical Tricks. New Jersey: World Scientific. "Find chemistry boring in the classrooms? Cannot remember or understand the concepts? Never thought that it can be used outside the classroom? Now, cheMagic brings together the intelligent use of chemistry concepts, methods and techniques to entertain and captivate your audience while enhancing your understanding of chemistry. From preparation to presentation, no stone is left unturned and no question left unanswered. Learn how to make Pyrex glassware shine, make steam rise from a teapot, and even start a fire that does not burn! Learn while you play! This book will kickstart your learning journey in chemistry and develop you into a true cheMagician!" (Publisher's description)
  • Lister, Ted., Catherine O'Driscoll, and Neville Reed. 1995. Classic Chemistry Demonstrations. London: Education Division, The Royal Society of Chemistry. "This book is an essential, much-used resource book for all chemistry teachers. It is a collection of chemistry experiments, many well-known others less so, for demonstration in front of a class of students from school to undergraduate age. Chemical demonstrations fulfill a number of important functions in the teaching process where practical class work is not possible. Demonstrations are often spectacular and therefore stimulating and motivating, they allow the students to see an experiment which they otherwise would not be able to share, and they allow the students to see a skilled practitioner at work. Written by a teacher with several years' experience, it includes many well-known experiments, because these will be useful to new chemistry teachers or to scientists from other disciplines who are teaching some chemistry. They have all been trialled in schools and colleges, and the vast majority of the experiments can be carried out at normal room temperature and with easily accessible equipment. The book will prove its worth again and again as a regular source of reference for planning lessons." (Publisher's description)
  • Roesky, H. W. 2007. Spectacular Chemical Experiments. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. "This book demonstrates over 80 enjoyable, impressive and sometimes almost unbelievable chemical experiments for the classroom, lecture hall or home. All the experiments are explained in full, and have been tested several times such that their successful reproduction is guaranteed. Grouped into several cycles -- water, the color blue, the color red, soles, and self-organization -- the topics are perfect for experimental lectures or school projects. Detailed illustrations and the lively writing style make this book equally attractive to readers interested in chemistry, even if they are unable to perform the experiments." (Publisher's description)
  • Roesky, H. W., and K Möckel. 1996. Chemical Curiosities: Spectacular Experiments and Inspired Quotes. Weinheim: Wiley. "Could it be magic...? Chemical experiments are not only essential for teaching chemistry, they also fascinate the audience. This book is an excellent source of inspiration for every 'magic show' and classroom demonstration. In a very playful manner, the experiments described here open up the manifold, colourful, and sometimes ear-splitting world of chemistry. Ranging from unusual (but useful) properties of matter to the illustration of the greenhouse effect, this masterful chemist's 'cookbook' is highly suitable for preparing demonstrations in front of larger audiences. Building a bridge between science and the arts, every experiment is introduced by inspiring citations from prose and poetry, which makes reading and experimenting equally enjoyable." (Publisher's description)
  • Summerlin, Lee R., and James L Ealy. 1988. Chemical Demonstrations: A Sourcebook for Teachers (2 Volumes). 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. "Contains 112 demonstrations appropriate for any introductory chemical program. Offers clear, concise text that details each demonstration. Explains how to do it, what the reactions are, and how to prepare materials and solutions. Provides a cross listing of demonstrations and chemical topics, thus allowing you to quickly find the right demonstration to fit a specific topic. Will benefit both student and teacher." (Publisher's description)

Journals, Magazines, & Newsletters edit

Innovative approaches to teaching chemistry are found in journals. Below are selected journals, magazines, and newsletters of potential interest to chemical educators.


  • Journal of Chemical Education or JCE is the official journal of the Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society, co-published with the American Chemical Society Publications Division. Launched in 1924, JCE is the world’s premier chemical education journal. The journal publishes peer-reviewed articles and related information as a resource to those in the field of chemical education and to those institutions that serve them. JCE typically addresses chemical content, activities, laboratory experiments, instructional methods, and pedagogies. The Journal serves as a means of communication among people across the world who are interested in the teaching and learning of chemistry. This includes instructors of chemistry from middle school through graduate school, professional staff that support these teaching activities, as well as some scientists in commerce, industry, and government." (Publisher's description)
  • JCE Chemical Education Xchange "is the new name for JCE Online, the former web site of the Journal of Chemical Education. Also called ChemED X, you will find a collection of digital video, references to items of interest from around the web, and several titles intended to help students learn various aspects of the chemical sciences. ChemEd X offers you the opportunity to share ideas, content, and comment on the world of chemical education in a manner similar to other social web sites. A major emphasis of JCE Chemical Education Exchange will be to better serve precollege and two-year college audiences for whom JCE and the Journal may not be a central resource to their teaching and learning of chemistry and the chemical sciences. For such teachers and students the rigor of the contribution process for the Journal presents a bar too high with little professional reward for those who attempt to surmount it. ChemEd X strives to deliver content that is more accessible to this audience while at the same time adheres to JCE's principles of peer review and assessment of contributions." (Publisher's description)
  • The Chemical Educator or TCE "is a peer-reviewed journal serving the needs of all chemical education professionals. TCE is a working journal, a reference to current topics, experiments, and teaching methodology. Video clips of demonstrations and laboratories, animation, and full-color graphics are available to enhance the clarity and usefulness of articles. The classroom and laboratory materials needed for implementation, including detailed instructions, actual student handouts, student data, computer files, and safety and disposal instructions, are available on-line at the time of publication. Featured tutorial articles on modern instrumentation, techniques, and theory provide educators access to the most current information in a format immediately usable in their classrooms and laboratories. Because of the expanding interest in chemical education research, TCE also aims to provide quality articles in the expanding field of chemical education research. Studies published in this area provide concrete evidence and conclusions about techniques that improve teaching effectiveness." (Publisher's description)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, publication of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, "aims to enhance teaching and learning in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and related sciences, by promoting the world-wide dissemination of educational materials. Topics published include: research in biochemistry and molecular biology education; innovative techniques in teaching and learning; new pedagogical approaches; reviews on emerging areas of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; historical Reviews describing “Paths to Discovery”; novel and proven laboratory experiments that have both skill-building and discovery-based characteristics; reviews of relevant textbooks, software, and websites; descriptions of educational software; and descriptions of multimedia materials for biochemistry and molecular biology education." (Publisher's description)
  • Chemistry Education. Research and Practice or "CERP is an online journal for teachers, researchers and other practitioners at all levels of chemistry education. It is published quarterly by the Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing and is free of charge. Coverage includes: research, and reviews of research, in chemistry education; effective practice in the teaching of chemistry; and in depth analyses of issues of direct relevance to chemistry education. In addition to the regular issues, there is a themed issue every year dealing with a particular aspect of chemistry education. The objectives of the journal are threefold: (1) To provide researchers with the means to publish their work in full in a journal exclusively dedicated to chemistry education. (2) To offer teachers of chemistry at all levels a place where they can share effective ideas and methods for the teaching and learning of chemistry. (3) Most importantly, to bridge the gap between the two groups so that researchers will have their results seen by those who could benefit from using them, and practitioners will gain from encountering the ideas and results of those who have made a particular study of the learning process. Contributions are fully refereed and include reviews, full papers, perspectives, communications and letters." (Publisher's description)
  • International Journal of Science Education is firmly established as an authoritative voice in the world of science education. It bridges the gap between research and practice, providing information, ideas and opinion. Special emphasis is placed on applicable research relevant to educational practice, guided by educational realities in systems, schools, colleges and universities. Published by Taylor & Francis, this journal comprises empirical research papers, papers on innovations and developments, position papers, theoretical papers and letters to the editors. From time to time, a Special Issue is devoted to a topic of major interest and importance, guest-edited by an acknowledged expert. (Publisher's description)
  • Journal of Science Education and Technology "is an international and interdisciplinary forum for both invited and contributed peer reviewed articles that advance science education at all levels. The journal publishes a broad range of papers covering theory and practice in order to facilitate future efforts of individuals and groups involved in the field. Topics fall under the categories of disciplinary (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering), technological (e.g., computer, video, audio, and print), or organizational (e.g., legislation, administration, implementation, and teacher enhancement). Recognizing technology’s growing role in both the understanding and development of science and in the delivery of information, the journal includes technology as a component of science education.In addition to original research articles, the journal publishes case studies and reviews of books, media, software, and other relevant products." (Publisher's description)
  • The Physics Teacher, "published nine times per year by the American Association of Physics Teachers, focuses on teaching introductory physics at all levels. Contents include tutorial papers, articles on pedagogy, current research or news in physics, articles on history and philosophy, and biographies. Columns feature demonstrations, apparatus and book reviews. Three free articles per issue. Subscriptions include the entire TPT backfile." (Publisher's description)
  • Science Education "published by John Wiley & Sons, it includes original articles on the latest issues and trends occurring internationally in science curriculum, instruction, learning, policy and preparation of science teachers with the aim to advance our knowledge of science education theory and practice. In addition to original articles, the journal features the following special sections: Learning, Issues and Trends, Science Learning in Everyday Life, Science Teacher Education, Science Education Policy, Science Studies and Science Education, and reviews covering recently published books. In addition, the journal regularly carries a Comments and Criticism section which provides a forum for the expression of differing view points and commentary and clarification of topics in published papers." (Publisher's description)
  • The Science Teacher, "for high school teachers, this peer-reviewed journal published by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) includes articles on effective inquiry activities that are original and creative, interdisciplinary science experiences, successful partnerships or programs, and themes of current issues in science education. Science Scope is NSTA’s peer-reviewed journal for middle level and junior high school science teachers. Science & Children is NSTA’s peer-reviewed journal for elementary school teachers." (Publisher's description)
  • Studies in Science Education "central aim is to publish review articles of the highest quality which provide analytical syntheses of research into key topics and issues in science education. This journal will be of interest to all those involved in science education including: science education researchers, doctoral students and masters students; science teachers at elementary, high school and university levels; science education policy makers; science education curriculum developers and text book writers." (Publisher's description)
  • Teaching and Learning Inquiry, "journal for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, publishes insightful research, theory, commentary, and other scholarly works that document or facilitate investigations of teaching and learning in higher education. TLI values quality and variety in its vision of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Its pages will showcase the breadth of the interdisciplinary field of scholarship of teaching and learning in its explicit methodological pluralism, its call for traditional and new genres, and its international authorship from across career stages." (Publisher's description)


  • Education in Chemistry is a magazine published by the Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing. It provides support for all chemistry teachers across the secondary, further and higher education sectors. It aims to strengthen the community by providing high quality content, tools and resources that promote innovative teaching and sharing of best practice. (Publisher's description)
  • ChemMatters "magazine helps high school students find connections between chemistry and the world around them. Published since 1983 by the American Chemical Society’s Division of Chemical Education, this quarterly magazine engages students with real-world applications of scientific concepts they learn in the classroom. It contains fascinating articles on topics of interest to teenagers. By demystifying the chemistry behind each topic--whether it is barbecue, perfume, or nutrition labels--these articles show the connections between the chemistry teenagers learn in school and the world around them. Each issue includes a Teacher’s Guide containing background information, follow-up hands-on activities, classroom demonstrations, and other resources to facilitate student comprehension." (Publisher's description)
  • inChemistry Magazine "is the official ACS student member magazine. Published quarterly, each issue covers special topics in chemistry, careers, professional development, and other topics of concern to undergraduate students in the chemical sciences." (Publisher's description)


Databases edit

Below are four databases you can use to find articles on chemistry education topics.

  • ERIC, the Education Resource Information Center, provides access to education literature and resources. A freely accessible database, ERIC contains more than 1.4 million records and links to more than 337,000 full-text documents from ERIC back to 1966. ERIC sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education. ERIC indexes articles from 650 journals, plus books, research syntheses, conference papers, technical reports, policy papers, and other education-related materials. A lot of chemistry material is included in ERIC. It is possible to filter search results by publication date, descriptors, publication source name, publication type, education level, and audience. On August 2, 2013, a new website was launched for ERIC. For more information about the content and changes planned during 2013-2015, please see: About ERIC and the Note from the Commissioner.
  • SciFinder, is the most comprehensive index for chemistry. It has strong coverage of chemistry education publications. It contains more than 37 million records. Updated, daily, SciFinder contains content from over 10,000 active journal titles and covers the literature from the early 1800's to the present.
  • Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database containing both peer-reviewed research literature and quality web sources. Containing over 50 million records from over 21,000 titles, Scopus supports research needs in the scientific, technical, medical and social sciences fields and, more recently, also in the arts and humanities. Scopus includes “Articles-in-Press” information from over 4,000 journals. Updated daily, covers 1996–present plus selected coverage that goes back as far as 1823.
  • Web of Science provides access to the world's leading citation databases. Authoritative, multidisciplinary content covers over 12,000 of the highest impact journals worldwide, including Open Access journals and over 150,000 conference proceedings. Updated weekly, journal coverage: Sciences 1899–present, Social Sciences 1898–present, and Arts & Humanities 1975–present. Conference proceedings coverage is 1990-present.

The Study of Chemistry edit

The ACS Directory of Graduate Research (DGRWeb) can be a great help in selecting a graduate school in the US or Canada. Issued every two years by the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training (CPT), it covers chemistry plus biochemistry, chemical engineering, environmental science, marine science, medicinal and/or pharmaceutical chemistry, polymers and materials science, toxicology.

CPT publications include Reports and Surveys, Annual Reports of Earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Chemistry, and Planning for Graduate Work in Chemistry (8th ed., 2010).

Many colleges subscribe to CollegeSource ONLINE, with over 71,000 catalogs from many colleges and universities. Both US and non-US institutions of higher learning are included. Peterson's is another standard source to help find information about college or university programs.

Statistics edit

  • Almanac of Higher Education 2013-14 Published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, this Almanac is an in-depth analysis of American colleges and universities including data on students, professors, administrators, institutions, and their resources, as well as state-by-state profiles of higher education in the United States.
  • National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (CSES) The responsibilities of NCSES have been broadened from those of the former Division of Science Resources Statistics. Data collections related to U.S. competitiveness and STEM education are part of these new responsibilities. NCSES is responsible for statistical data on the following: *Research and development; *The science and engineering workforce; *U.S. competitiveness in science, engineering, technology, and R&D; *The condition and progress of STEM education in the United States.
  • > Career Guides The National Academies have published several reports related to career planning, including a series of publications ranking U.S. doctoral programs in several different disciplines. Other topics include scientific ethics and the experiences of women in science, engineering and medicine.
  • NEA Almanac of Higher Education Published annually by the National Education Association, this Almanac provides current information on the entire scope of American higher education. It contains up-to-date information on faculty salaries and benefits, the economic conditions in the states, faculty workload, trends in bargaining, and information on non-faculty professionals on campus.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook Published by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Outlook Handbook covers the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job, and working conditions for hundreds of different types of jobs. In addition, the Handbook gives you job search tips and links to information about the job market in each State.
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are objective, timely, accurate, and relevant.

Summary edit

Consulting the literature on the scholarship of teaching and learning will enable you to learn about best practices of master chemistry teachers and educators. It will also help you devise a pedagogical framework for courses you teach. If your goal is to earn a formal degree in chemistry, several tools are available to help select an educational institution.

CIIM Link for further study

SIRCh Link for Teaching and Studying Chemistry

SIRCh Link for Chemistry Courses on the Web

References edit

Standards and Guidelines

Books for Chemistry Educators

ACS Symposium Series

  • Mabrouk, Patricia Ann. 2007. Active learning: models from the analytical sciences. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 970. DOI:
  • Duffy-Matzner, Jetty L., and Kimberly Pacheco. 2012. Advances in teaching organic chemistry. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1108. DOI:
  • Ellison, Mark D., and Tracy A. Schoolcraft. 2008. Advances in teaching physical chemistry. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 973. DOI:
  • Chapp, Timothy W., and Mark A. Benvenuto. 2013. Developing and maintaining a successful undergraduate research program. ACS Symposium Series, 1156. DOI:
  • Utterback, Paul J., and David A. Nelson. 1998. Educating for OSHA savvy chemists. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 700. DOI:
  • Belford, Robert E., John W. Moore, and Harry E. Pence. 2010. Enhancing learning with online resources, social networking, and digital libraries. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1060. DOI:
  • Anastas, Paul T., Irvin J. Levy, and Kathryn E. Parent. 2009. Green chemistry education: changing the course of chemistry. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1011. DOI:
  • Howell, B. A. 2013. Introduction of macromolecular science/polymeric materials into the foundational course in organic chemistry. ACS Symposium Series, 1151. DOI:
  • Bunce, Diane M. 2011. Investigating classroom myths through research on teaching and learning. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1074. DOI:
  • Karukstis, Kerry K. 2010. Mentoring strategies to facilitate the advancement of women faculty. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1057. DOI:
  • Rovnyak, David, and Robert Stockland. 2007. Modern NMR spectroscopy in education. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 969. DOI:
  • Pacheco, Kimberly, Richard W. Schwenz, and Wayne E. Jones. 2009. Nanotechnology in undergraduate education. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1010. DOI:
  • Soulsby, David, Laura J. Anna, and Anton S. Wallner. 2013. NMR spectroscopy in the undergraduate curriculum. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1128. DOI:
  • Bunce, Diane M., and Renèe S. Cole. 2008. Nuts and bolts of chemical education research. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 976. DOI:
  • Suits, Jerry P., and Michael J. Sanger. 2013. Pedagogic roles of animations and simulations in chemistry courses. ACS Symposium Series, 1142. DOI:
  • Moog, Richard Samuel, and James N. Spencer. 2008. Process oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL). Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 994. DOI:
  • Sheardy, Richard Dean, and David Burns. 2012. Science education and civic engagement the next level. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1121. DOI:
  • Sheardy, Richard Dean. 2010. Science education and civic engagement: the SENCER approach. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1037. DOI:
  • Hou, Harvey J. M. 2013. Teaching bioanalytical chemistry. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. ACS Symposium Series, 1137. DOI:
  • Holme, Thomas A., Melanie M. Cooper, and Pratibha Varma-Nelson. 2013. Trajectories of chemistry education innovation and reform. ACS Symposium Series, 1145. DOI:

Books for Science Educators

Chemical Demonstrations





The Study of Chemistry