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New newsletter service, three new quizzes, Dashboard improvements & other fixes

Hi there! I hope you’ve had a good school year so far, and I hope those of you who are in the United States and Canada had a Happy Thanksgiving. I wanted to squeeze in one more round of ChemQuiz.net updates before the end of the calendar year in the hopes that they might be useful for you and your students.

Speaking of the end of the calendar year, I have two fun chemistry activities that I’m excited that I finally get to do again: making borax snowflakes and silvering glass bottles for holiday ornaments! I’ve saved up a lot of empty hot sauce bottles over the years so that I could use them with my AP Physics 2 classes, which were small, but I think I might have just enough to use for my CP Chemistry classes this year. If you want to try this with your students, small glass vials work well. Just make sure they know to never open the vial again after it’s silvered!

Now that I’m teaching Chemistry again, I’ve been able to test out features and prototype new quizzes with my students as we move through the curriculum. Some of my students have been pretty, uh, frank with their criticisms (they’re almost all sophomores), so it’s been fun getting their feedback! 🤣 It’s also really interesting watching them figure chemistry concepts out by taking the practice quizzes on the site, asking me questions as they go. I had no idea getting the confetti that shows up when they earn a perfect score would be so motivating! I’ve had kids try quizzes over and over again until they get every question correct just so they can see that animation. I don’t know how many of you are working on earning a higher degree and need to do educational research, but there’s definitely something worth studying about the motivational power of confetti! 🎉


Now using Mailchimp for the newsletter

You may have noticed that the newsletter is a little different from the previous versions. Unfortunately, the last time I tried to send it out directly from my website in early October, but there are so many teachers on the mailing list now that my mail program crashed. As a result, I think many of you never received the October newsletter. As much as I prefer to use tools I’ve written myself, I’m going to try Mailchimp for now and see how it works. Just like before, the newsletter is “opt in” only, so if you don’t want to receive it in the future, please reply with “Unsubscribe” or click the link at the bottom of the email. The last thing I want to do is bug my fellow science teachers! (By the way, if you ever want to look at past newsletters, they’re archived in the News section of the website.)


Three new quizzes

*NEW* Average Atomic Masses Quiz

  • calculate average atomic masses for fictional elements using different precisions
  • fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions

*NEW* Periodic Trends Quiz (thanks, Lorraine & Nora!)

  • identify elements based on periodic trends across groups and periods
  • compare atomic mass, atomic radius, effective nuclear charge, electron affinity, electronegativity, first ionization energy, and ionic radius
  • multiple choice questions coming very soon!

*NEW* Types of Matter Quiz (thanks, Kendra & Brankica!)

  • identify types and states of matter from particle diagrams
  • multiple choice questions about diagrams justifying answers

New Dashboard features & bug fixes

Now that I’m using the Dashboard with my own classes on a regular basis, I’ve noticed some shortcomings and annoyances that I’ve tried to fix. I’ve also added a few little features that I think could make everyone’s lives a little easier.

  • Multiple teachers from the same school can now share the same class (thanks, Danny!)
  • Assignments that have been started but not completed are now hidden by default on the Results page but can be shown through the filter menu
  • Added an “archive” action link to the Assignments page
    teachers can now preview inactive quizzes
  • Bug fix: switching the class filter on the Grades incorrectly returned teachers to the first page of scores (thanks again, Danny!)
  • Bug fix: assignments were showing up on the Dashboard for the wrong students when “All Classes” was selected by another teacher at the same school

Quiz bug fixes & minor updates

Calorimetry Quiz

  • thermal equilibrium word problems for c2 and m2 weren’t showing T1 (thanks, Sylvie!)

Electron Configuration Quiz

  • Fixed question language to use the phrase “electrons in a subshell” or “electrons in the 3p orbitals” (plural) instead of “3p orbital” (thanks, Rob!)

Hess’s Law Quiz

  • fixed question language to read “standard heats of formation” (thanks, Matthew!)

Lewis Dot Structures Quiz

  • Fixed an error with “How many dots could be drawn in a Lewis dot structure for an element that can form 0 chemical bonds? ” question not handling zero correctly (thanks a third time, Danny!)
  • Lewis dot structure symbols were displaying incorrectly in presentation mode

Molecular Geometry & VSEPR Quiz

  • When the student was given a simple white + pink ball-and-stick model (X-A), it was actually assessing the question based on a model with 2 white balls and 1 pink ball (X-A-X) (thanks, David!)

Other bug fixes

  • added updated login info for Google users to the Join page
  • PHPmailer stopped working, so assignment email scripts were switched to wp_mail instead

The primary way I find out about bugs is from the teachers and students who use the site, so please keep the bug reports coming! You can submit a bug by emailing me at chris@chemquiz.net, or filling out the Contact form on the site. I do my best to fix bugs as quickly as possible, but since I’m also a full-time teacher, there are some days where there just isn’t enough mental energy left for me to figure it out after school. Because of that, I do most of my development work on the weekend and over breaks, and I focus on site licenses and user account issues during the week. I appreciate your patience as I try to grow and improve the site!


Help me share ChemQuiz.net with the world!

If you like using ChemQuiz.net, there are three quick and easy things that you can do to help me promote the site!

  • Follow @ChemQuizDotNet on Twitter and Facebook and share my updates with your fellow Chemistry teachers!
  • Tell another Chemistry teacher about ChemQuiz.net and encourage them to try out the Dashboard!
  • Add your school to the list of supporters on the About page by going to the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard, click on “Your Info” in the top menu bar, check the box next to “Display School on ChemQuiz.net“, and click the “Update Your Info” button.

I hope the last few weeks before the end of 2022 go smoothly for you and your students. Please feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, suggestions for improvement, or problems with the site. Take care, stay safe, and have a happy New Year!
-Chris