>why do science educators think that they must do demos with flame, explosions, or the like?? I hear the excuses "We have to get the students excited about science!"
I agree that that is a core question and this excuse ignores the likelihood that as many students are turned off of science by the flame, explosions, odors, etc. as get excited about science by them. And this is not a "chemophobia" issue - I've had many situations where chemists and other lab scientists are raising health and safety concerns to me related to emissions from neighboring labs. In my opinion, chemophobia in the general public is driven by these "educational" events at least as much as by the scientific confusion that is often cited by chemistry advocates...
>To echo Monique, "What do we do?"
I notice that J Chem Ed today published an article entitled "Development, Implementation, and Assessment of General Chemistry Lab Experiments Performed in the Virtual World of Second Life" about the use of virtual labs in the Gen Chem setting. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00733
It will be interesting to read it with this conversation in mind.
Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts on this.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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