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New year, new quiz, old bugs, and help with rate laws

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2023 has started well for you and your students. I wanted to let you know about a brand new quiz that I just finished as well as some important bug fixes, and I also wanted to ask for help with the next quiz I’d like to write.


Brand new quiz!

*NEW* Scientific Measurements Quiz – thanks, Fionna!

  • make accurate scientific measurements using diagrams of rulers, graduated cylinders and thermometers
  • fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions

Here are some examples of the diagrams generated by this new quiz:

large graduated cylinder diagram from Scientific Measurements Quiz small graduated cylinder diagram from Scientific Measurements Quiz.png thermometer diagram from Scientific Measurements Quiz
ruler diagram from Scientific Measurements Quiz

I received a suggestion to write this quiz about two years ago, but I kept putting it off because I didn’t know how to generate dynamic drawings beyond the isotope notation in the Nuclear Reactions Quiz. However, I started working on this quiz a few months ago when I was learning to generate dynamic drawings of particles for the Types of Matter Quiz because I needed measurement diagrams for my own Chemistry students, who haven’t had much hands-on lab experience so far thanks to the pandemic. I’m not sure if you’re seeing this with your students, but even simple tasks like estimating a digit between the lines on a ruler or taking a reading at the bottom of the meniscus have been challenging to mine.

So, I made some ruler and graduated cylinder diagrams that I used in class to try to help them, but I needed winter break to have time to sit down and figure out how to generate those diagrams dynamically and accurately. Once I finished the quiz, I also added alcohol thermometers for fun, if any of you are still using those with your students, but I stopped short at adding triple beam balances (for now!). I know that many of you won’t need this quiz until next fall, but I hope it’s helpful now for those of you who teach on a block schedule or in college and are just starting with your Chemistry students.


Disabled “Enter” key on all quizzes

I was talking with one of my Computer Science students (who’s taking Chemistry with one of my colleagues) about ChemQuiz.net and he told me how frustrated he was when he accidentally pressed the “enter” key and submitted his answers before he was done with the quiz, and he had to start all over. I felt that he made a really good point, so I looked into adding a popup window or a modal dialog box to verify that a student was ready to submit their answers, but I found that the least disruptive way to prevent accidental submission would be to disable the “enter” key altogether.

This means that in order to have their responses graded, students must now click the pink “Grade it!” button. I’m hoping this eliminates any frustration your students may have experienced with this issue! Please let me know if you notice any problems with this change, or if your students encounter any other difficulties or issues while using ChemQuiz.net.


Lots of bug fixes

It’s difficult to find the time and mental energy to sit down and focus on fixing bugs on ChemQuiz.net while school is in session, especially when some of the code was written a long time ago back when the quizzes were on my school blog. That’s why I tried to focus on knocking out as many as possible during this winter break so that the site runs as smoothly as possible for the rest of the school year. Here’s a list of everything that has been fixed recently

Dashboard

  • when creating a new assignment, the “Require student login” setting was saving as “checked” even when unchecked
  • student quiz result times were not adjusting correctly for the school’s time zone on Results and Grades pages
  • clicking on the “Results” link on the Students page would not show that student correctly on the Results page

Bond Polarity & Electronegativity Quiz

  • entering “0” for electronegativity difference (Δχ) now correctly registers as “0” instead of “no answer” (thanks to my students!)
  • added “fuzziness” option of +/- 0.1 for electronegativity difference (Δχ) values (also suggested by my students)

Hess’s Law Quiz

  • incorrect heat values were being pulled from the database when grading (thanks Terrie, Thomas and Elena!)

Mass Ratios, Percent Composition & Empirical Formulas Quiz

  • empirical formulas with polyatomic ions are now counted as correct (thanks, Scott!)

Molar Conversions Quiz

  • answers less than 0.01 were showing up as 0 but not being accepted (thanks Scott, Theresa, Danny and Carol! I’m really sorry that this bug caused so much frustration to so many people)

Molecular Geometry & VSEPR Quiz

  • changed wording to “unbonded electron pairs *around the central atom*” (thanks, Susan!)

Naming Compounds & Calculating Molar Masses Quiz

  • also accepts “aluminium” for compound names (suggested by one of my students who used the IUPAC spelling from her periodic table)
  • H2O2 and O3 are no longer included in the quiz

Periodic Trends Quiz

  • added multiple choice questions
  • added option to select representative elements (s- and p-blocks) and/or transition metals (d-block)
  • quiz wasn’t available in the Dashboard (thanks, Rohunke!)

Other improvements

If I didn’t fix a bug or issue that you’ve reported, I’ll do my best to address it as soon as I can!


Help with new rate laws quiz?

I’ve received several requests over the past couple years to write a quiz on kinetics and rate laws, but I have to admit that I’ve never really taught it, so I don’t have a deep understanding of it, and I don’t have a lot of resources beyond what I can find online and in the textbooks that I have laying around. In order to write a dynamically generated quiz, I need to be able to visualize the kinds of questions and problems it would generate based on repeating patterns, so the more types of problems I can see and categorize, the better.

If you have any good materials that you’d be willing to share with me, such as worksheets or assessments (especially with keys!), I would very much appreciate it, and I promise not to share them with anyone else! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; even a quick picture of a worksheet would help. Thanks in advance!


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.

Here’s hoping that 2023 is a great year for all of us! Please contact me any time if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, or if you run into any problems while using ChemQuiz.net. Take care, stay safe, and as always, thanks so much for your support!
-Chris