Teaching Students About the Arrhenius Equation

Chemical kinetics plays a crucial role in understanding chemical reactions that occur in various fields such as engineering, biology, and environmental science. One of the key concepts in this subject area is the Arrhenius Equation, discovered by Svante Arrhenius in 1889. This equation allows us to calculate the rate constants for reactions and understand the impact of temperature on chemical reactions. As educators, it’s essential to ensure that students grasp this concept to elevate their foundation for advanced chemical studies.

In this article, we will discuss strategies and methods for effectively teaching students about the Arrhenius Equation.

1. Start with The Basics: Understanding Reaction Rates

Before diving into the Arrhenius Equation, make sure that your students are familiar with the concept of reaction rates. Teach them about factors affecting reaction rates such as temperature, concentration, surface area, and catalysts. Providing a strong foundation on reaction rates is paramount for students to truly appreciate the purpose of the Arrhenius Equation.

2. Introduce The Arrhenius Equation

Once your students have developed a basic understanding of reaction rates and their dependency on temperature, introduce them to the actual equation:

k = Ae^(-Ea/RT)

Where k represents the rate constant, A is the pre-exponential factor, Ea represents activation energy, R is the gas constant, and T denotes temperature.

Walk them through each variable’s meaning and significance to emphasize how these variables influence reaction rates.

3. Utilize Real-world Examples

To bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, present real-world examples or experiments concerning chemical kinetics and temperature dependence. For instance, explore how food preservation with low temperatures works concerning microbial activity or showcase how temperature affects enzyme-catalyzed reactions in living organisms.

4. Solve Problems Together

Demonstrate step-by-step solutions to problems involving the Arrhenius Equation. Provide students with ample examples to practice finding rate constants, calculating activation energies, and determining reaction rates at different temperatures. Encourage group discussion for problem-solving to foster collaborative learning and peer-to-peer support.

5. Visual Learning Tools

Make use of graphs, charts, and animations to illustrate the concepts being taught. For example, showcase how a reaction rate vs. temperature graph looks for a specific reaction or use an interactive simulation tool where students can observe the impact of varying activation energies and temperatures on the rate constant.

6. Achieve Mastery through Assessments

Regularly evaluate your students’ comprehension levels through quizzes, tests, and assigning problems for practice. Formal assessment mechanisms allow both you and your students to gauge their understanding of the Arrhenius Equation and identify areas that may require additional explanation or practice.


Teaching students about the Arrhenius Equation is pivotal in forming a solid foundation in chemical kinetics. By adopting these approaches and keeping students engaged in the learning process, educators can positively impact their aptitude for advanced chemical studies. Encourage your students to appreciate this powerful tool for understanding real-world phenomena associated with temperature dependence on reaction rates and lead them toward success in their academic endeavors.

Choose your Reaction!