Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today, we finished up reviewing conversion of mass and did some additional word problems for predicting mass or reactants or products given the mass of other compounds. The student this time did not confuse it with limiting reagents (which we learn much later) and just simply thought of it as addition and subtraction - it got easier for him when he thought of it that way. Afterwards, I gave him a unit test on what we learned so far from naming elements and compounds all the way to balancing and predicting equations. He has showed a lot of interest in chemistry and has actively started reading material on his own. For the rest of the lesson, I finished introducing him to the chemistry kit and we set up the Bunsen alcohol burner, showing him how to add alcohol through it with a funnel as well as how to light it and put it out with the cap."
"The student and I focused on substitution reactions in preparation for her final. We started by talking about the components of these reactions - nucleophiles, electrophiles, leaving groups - and what factors make them better or worse (basicity, electronegativity, electron density/charge). We then looked at the experimental data that shows the variables that are different between SN1 and SN2 reactions - stereochemistry of the products, preferred substrates (primary, secondary, tertiary), and rate laws. Then, we talked about the two reactions in detail. We went through their mechanisms and talked about why each mechanism was used; SN2 and the backside-attack, and SN1 and the stepwise mechanism. We did some review, and I made sure to emphasize the factors that affect the rates of these reactions, such as steric hindrance, the stability of the carbocation, solvents, and the strength of the nucleophiles. She said that the material made more sense to her, and we are going to keep in contact as she starts learning elimination reactions."
"The student wanted to review homework problems that she was having trouble starting. We spent the first section discussing dilutions, molar concentrations, and methods for laying out equations as strings of conversion factors as simple fractions, as opposed to complex irregular fractions. The student understood much of the underlying fundamentals. After that, we discussed another problem involving different forms of dilution. Again, the student needed little help on the math. We ended by discussing lab theory, and gravimetric versus volumetric measurement accuracy, and the practical theory behind diluting concentrated samples for high precision instruments. The student felt much more confident by the end of the session."