Creating a Connection between Everyday Life and Stoichiometry using ChemPrime

This page is authored by Lisa I Smith, M.S., North Hennepin Community College, based on participation in the ChemEd DL summit hosted by the University of Wisconsin - Madison and Catholic University of America.
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


In introductory chemistry, students learn stoichiometry. In this activity, it allows the students to read a webpage in order to aid them in making a connection between stoichiometry and when they use the same mathematical process during their every day life. The students can have access to the webpage prior to and/or during the activity.

Learning Goals

Students will learn stoichiometry as well as being able to relate how they use dimensional analysis in their every day life. This could be considered level II according to Bloom's taxonomy, where they do have to relate the concept to their own experiences to build connections.

Context for Use

This activity could be used to supplement the lecture portion of stoichiometry. This activity could be used prior to learning stoichiometry or after being introduced to stoichiometry.

A computer is necessary as the webpage is online.

This activity was used at a community college, Introduction to Chemistry course (high school/pre-General Chemistry equivalent) with a class size of approximately 40 students.

The students were allowed 20 minutes to complete the activity where they read through the web page and had to come up with an example where they use dimensional analysis in their life.

This activity should be easy to adapt, this activity was performed during class in a computer lab, but could also be given as a homework assignment.

Description and Teaching Materials

The students were allowed to access two webpages. The students were instructed to use these resources and then write down on a piece of paper an example of when they use the same math process as used in stoichiometry, during their every day life. The students were given 20 minutes. At the end of the time, the students handed in their work and were graded based on if they came up with a correct example or not. The students were able to receive additional points for multiple examples. This activity could be done in 15 minutes as most of the students were done around that time.

Below are the two URLs the students had access to.

Teaching Notes and Tips

The time it takes for this activity could be done between 10 - 20 minutes. They do need computer access.

The instructor should tell the students that they cannot use the same examples or 'ingredients' as the ones on the web page. i.e. the first example is of a grilled cheese sandwich. They cannot alter how much cheese they put on their grilled cheese sandwich or another sandwich, but they can talk about building a different cooking experience.


The learning goal is for the student to be able to come up with an example of when they use dimensional analysis in their every day life. If they can't, that means that are not quite grasping the depth of stoichiometry or how the two are related.

References and Resources

These resources are part of the ChemPRIME collection, a project of the ChemEd DL. Direct links to the activities are below.

The ChemEd DL Summit Resource Course ( houses all of the submissions from two-year and four-year college faculty members who have designed resources using the Chem Ed DL (Chemical Educational Digital Library) for use in organic chemistry and general chemistry classrooms and laboratories.

This resource is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. NSF-DUE 1044239 and NSF-DUE 0937796. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.