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Video: Inserting Chemistry Equations into Your Questions

In this video, we will show you how to insert chemistry equations into the questions that you write in your portal.


Video Transcript

In this video, we will show you how to insert chemistry equations into the questions that you write in your portal.

There is a separate video on how to create your own questions in your portal, so we won’t go into the specific details of how to create questions, but we will highlight the key steps.

First, to create a question, you must be a portal educator and be signed in to Then, click on “My Library”, followed by “Questions”, and finally “+ New Question”.

You’ll then need to fill out the necessary information for the question on the left-hand side, including selecting the intended lesson that you would like to add it to (note that this could be a lesson that you create).

You can create two types of questions: a multiple-choice question and a short-answer question, and we will demonstrate how to add chemical equations to each of these question types.

First, we’ll see how to create a multiple-choice question. Here, you have a box for the question itself along with the multiple-choice options. Suppose we want to add the question “Which ions are present in the ionic compound ammonium chloride?” but we want to use the chemical formula for ammonium chloride.

To do this, we would first write “Which ions are present in the ionic compound” into the box. To input the chemical formula for ammonium chloride, currently the “Insert Equation” button doesn’t support chemical equations, so instead we now need to write “\ce{” to inform the system that we are inputting a chemical equation.

At this stage, we recommend opening a new tab and heading to Here, you will find a helpful reference page including the LaTeX syntax for various chemical expressions and symbols. At the top left of the table, we can see the chemical formula for water and on the right we can see the text that we need to input, and we can use this to guide how we input ammonium chloride. So, after \ce{, we need to input “NH4Cl” followed by a closing brace and a question mark.

Now, we need to fill in the multiple-choice options. If your multiple-choice options are words or numbers, you can write these directly into the box, but if you need to include a chemical equation, like we do here, we again need to write the equation after the prefix \ce and between two braces.

Again you can have a look at to look at the form of how to write the answer. We need to write “\ce{NH4+} and \ce{Cl-}”, which is the correct answer, so we will highlight this by selecting the tick.

To complete the remaining options, we can copy the expression from the box above and adjust the distractors accordingly. You have to have at least one distractor, but you can add up to four. We’ll just add “\ce{NH4+} and \ce{Cl-}” and replace the “+” by “^2+”.

Once you’re happy, you then have three options: click “Cancel” if you no longer want to add the question, “Add” if you would like to continue adding questions, or “Add and Finish” if this is the only question that you’d like to add.

We want to add this single question, so we will click “Add and Finish”.

You’ll then see the new question appear in your questions area. If you want to delete or edit any question, you can do so by clicking the three dots at the top right of the question. Click “Delete” if you want to remove it or “Edit” if you want to change something. Once you’re on the edit screen, make the required changes and then click “Save”.

If you want to create a short-answer question (which is a question for which the answer is provided directly by the student), for example, “Write down the chemical formula for glucose”, select “Short-Answer Question” and write the phrase “Write down the chemical formula for glucose.” The difference is that instead of the multiple-choice box, you will have a single-answer box where you can provide the recommended answer. You can add any chemical equation in an identical way to how we demonstrated previously, so in the answer box we will write “\ce{“ followed by “C6H12O6” and a closing brace. Once you’re happy, click “Insert”.

Note that with multiple-choice questions, these will be automatically marked by our system, whereas when a student solves a short-answer question, it will not be automatically marked. Instead, these will need to be graded by you as an educator and the student will be shown your model answer to compare it with their text response.

Once you’re happy, you can add the question as before as long as you have filled in the required information on the left-hand side.

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