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4 Posts authored by: Stacy Benson

Students often find chemistry more engaging when the concepts they learn in the classroom are connected to real world applications. Sapling Learning strives to provide questions that not only cover the concepts learned in the classroom, but also questions that apply these concepts to applications students might encounter in their everyday lives. One area where we have recently added questions that apply chemical concepts to real world applications is batteries.


In the spotlight question, which is targeted for use in general or introductory chemistry courses, an image of a Leclanché, or dry cell, battery is given. Students are asked to provide the half-reactions that occur at the anode and cathode during the discharge of the battery under basic conditions. To complete the question, students must take what they have learned about electrochemistry and apply it to the operation of the battery. The electrochemical concepts tested in this question include balancing oxidation-reduction reactions and identifying whether oxidation or reduction occur at the anode or cathode.


This question along with the other new questions on batteries can be found in section 17.5 Electrochemical Applications of the Sapling General Chemistry taxonomy or section 16.5 Batteries in the Sapling Introductory Chemistry taxonomy. To access the library, just follow these instructions from the Sapling Learning help pages. These instructions have details on searching in the library and finding similar questions. Your dedicated Tech TA can also assist in finding questions or providing information on newer questions.

Stacy Benson

Dedicated Tech TA

Posted by Stacy Benson Jun 14, 2016

After your dedicated Tech TA has delivered your course, remember that they are not finished supporting your course. He or she is there to help you with any issues that might arise with your Sapling Learning course site, and can guide you in creating assignments and other tasks throughout the term.


Your Tech TA will help answer your questions and edit your course, or guide you through the process if you require help or need clarification of the Sapling Learning help pages. Setting due dates and grading policies, giving students extensions, and adding or removing questions from an assignment are also tasks that Tech TAs can easily do for you or show you how to do yourself. Some tasks, such as correcting a suspected error in a question or finding a misspelling, are best handled by your Tech TA. Your Tech TA can also help you find questions, add new questions to your assignments, and pass along content request to the content team.


Don’t forget that your Tech TA is there to help you—they are your ally and will help make sure your students are getting the most out of your Sapling Learning course site.

At Sapling Learning, we are continually adding new questions and improving older questions. Our goal is to provide you with a wide variety of questions to cover all of your course material. In 2015 alone, we added 1,144 new or improved questions in all of the chemistry disciplines. New questions were written in a variety of topics, including several mechanism questions for organic chemistry, capillary electrophoresis questions for analytical chemistry, Latimer diagram and kinetics questions specific for inorganic chemistry, conceptual entropy and Gibbs free energy questions for general chemistry, and forensics questions for introductory chemistry. Questions that were improved now have enhanced feedback and solutions to increase students’ learning and online homework experience.


If you want to browse our library for new questions for your assignments, simply visit the library from the activity editor of your course site. Just follow these instructions [link to] from the Sapling Learning help pages, which include details on searching in the library and finding similar questions. You can pull questions from any of the book groups associated with your course. Your dedicated Tech TA can also assist in finding questions or providing information on newer questions.

Chemistry is more than just calculations, so Sapling Learning strives to provide students with a complete understanding of the subject. One way of achieving this is with clear questions that illustrate the chemical concepts that are expected to be learned in order to better understand the more complex chemical questions. Conceptual questions range from balancing an equation to ranking compounds based on a specific characteristic, and these types of questions are applicable to all the chemistry disciplines we support.


In the spotlight question, which has recently been created for general chemistry, the question is asking about the difference between the change in enthalpy (ΔH) and the change in entropy (ΔS). The molecules are in motion in the live question, with the top image showing that the speeds of the atoms are much higher in the left container than in the right. The lower image shows a liquid becoming a solid. The student can compare the final condition on the right to the starting condition on the left and decide if enthalpy and entropy have increased, decreased, or stayed the same. This conceptual question can quickly assess understanding of enthalpy and entropy and correct misconceptions, which is essential in complete mastery of chemistry.


Copy of Conceptual Chemistry Question 109208.PNG