The Zinc and Iodine Book

Building Fundamental Knowledge with Thematic Laboratory Activities for the Chemistry Educator

by Stephen DeMeo


View First 25 Pages: (free download)


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.

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.