All about sulfur

Yasmin Jayathirtha

In response to the articles I have been writing, a young woman wrote to ask for ideas for a worksheet to teach the properties of sulfur. She never did get in touch again, so I am sure she managed well, but I was intrigued and started getting together experiments and ideas for a look at the descriptive chemistry of this element. This is the situation to use ‘multimedia’, i.e., the combination of readings, demonstrations and experiments. Small-scale chemistry is also very useful, since experiments aid in remembering facts about an element.

Sulfur and its compounds, play a very important role both biologically and industrially. In fact, one of the measures of industrialization is the amount of sulfuric acid a society consumes. Sulfur dioxide is a bleach and preservative and is implicated in acid rain. So, looking at the wide reach of its chemistry, it would be good to illustrate it. Studying sulfur also allows us to demonstrate concepts such as allotropy, the effect of structure on properties and the typical properties of non-metals rather easily. In writing this article, I am assuming that the chemistry of the element and various definitions can be found in textbooks and that there is no need to reiterate it here. We shall only consider the experimental details.

The author works with Centre for Learning, Bangalore. She can be reached at yasmin.cfl@gmail.com.

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