Practical Chemistry

Investigating A Waste Sample: Analysis, Treatment and Disposal

A laboratory based whole of subject 'Capstone' project which student carry out in teams. Multiple assessments cover lab performance, research skills, teamwork, communication in various modes and report writing.

Parallel Practicals

Run practicals in parallel with the curriculum.

Introductory and Applied Practicals

Provide more than one practical on a topic - an introductory 'this is how it works', and a second 'applied' version.

Relevance of Practicals

Choose practicals that align closely with important topics. For Example, three ways of experimentally determining a rate law - all three ways should be used in the lab.

Pre-Lab Activities

Carefully structure the pre-lab flow chart and pre-lab presentation to carefully explain all the key concepts involved.

Concentration vs Total Quantity

For a demonstration of concentration versus total quantity: get three 100 mL graduated cylinders. And put a bit of food colouring in one and maybe dilute to 10 mL. Put an equivalent amount of food colouring in another and make it up to 30 and 100 mLs. It’s the same amount of food colouring in 10 mL, 30 mL, 100 mL. What will they look like? Dark, medium and lighter. Look down the top, what will they look like? Identical. It’s the same amount of molecules absorbing, blue, or whatever colour’s being absorbed.

Link to Lab Experience

Use examples from the lab course/component to link to their own experience.

Concept Map the Calculations

The way back-titrations are taught is often confusing. Get them to concept map the calculation. So, instead of trying to do the calculation in their head, map it out starting from where they end up, and then relate each of those steps to where that number is coming from. Have them think about it like it’s a reaction. Because they know how to do the math, and they can understand how to do it for a reaction. An example is the dissolution of calcium carbonate and trying to get them to work out how much carbonate is in a limestone sample.

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