chem discussion

For this discussion you get to switch roles from student to teacher!  Suppose you needed to explain the concept of the mole to a junior high school student.  What would you tell them?

Some background:

There’s a great story about the the famous physicist Richard Feynman.  One of Feynman’s colleagues, David Goodstein, once asked him to explain a challenging result in theoretical physics.  Feynman’s response was to say “I’ll prepare a freshman lecture on it.”  Feynman returned a few days later, saying I couldnt do it. I couldnt reduce it to the freshman level. That means we dont really understand it.

I.e., Feynman’s thinking was that, if we can’t get the idea so clear so clear in our heads that we could explain it in a way that even college freshman could grasp it, then we don’t really understand it ourselves.

So here I’m extending that notion to “If you can’t explain it to a junior high school student, then you don’t really understand it.”  What you will find is that you really need to understand something clearly to explain it clearly, especially to someone who has no understanding of it to start.  Hence part of the purpose of this exercise will be to challenge you to get enough clarity about the mole that you could explain it to a junior high school student :).