STEM Education Poetry

Balancing Acts

“Balanced reactions are
Statements describing a 
Chemical tale;
Relevant math skills are
Termed stoichiometry.
Learn these techniques: 
On assessments, prevail!”

The 21 September 2020 poem was a pseudo-double-dactyl summarizing some common themes from introductory chemistry courses.  

“Balanced reactions are /
Equiproportional /
Statements describing a /
Chemical tale…”
As described elsewhere on this site, a balanced reaction (one in which the number of each type of element is consistent across the reaction arrow) communicates a great deal of useful information about the chemical process in question.  

Such reactions explain the relative number of moles of each chemical species; they are “equiproportional.”  To chemists, balanced reactions can be read as sentences communicating information about how reactants yield products, or, more poetically, “statements describing a chemical tale.”  

“Relevant math skills are /
Termed stoichiometry. /
Learn these techniques: / 
On assessments, prevail!”
The use of balanced reactions for quantitative applications is called stoichiometry.  Using a balanced reaction, a chemist can predict information about the mass or moles of a reactant or product of interest, given data about a different chemical species involved in the same reaction.  

As with some other poems posted here, this one is written in a teacher’s voice. The second half of the double dactyl exhorts students to learn the skills of balancing reactions and using them for stoichiometric calculations, so that they can succeed on assessments such as homework and exams! The first year of chemistry coursework provides an introduction to a range of such techniques.