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ERIC Number: EJ1046274
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Using Paperclips to Explain Empirical Formulas to Students
Nassiff, Peter; Czerwinski, Wendy A.
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n11 p1934-1938 Nov 2014
Early in their chemistry education, students learn to do empirical formula calculations by rote without an understanding of the historical context behind them or the reason why their calculations work. In these activities, students use paperclip "atoms", construct a series of simple compounds representing real molecules, and discover, just as early chemists knew, that only the empirical formulas could be found from their experimental results even though they do not know the masses of the atoms. These activities, designed for high school or college introductory chemistry, take about 150 min to complete.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A