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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 5 Issue 3 (2000) pp 133-135

The Big Freeze: Water and the Scientific Process

Andrew R. Bressette

Department of Chemistry, Berry College, P.O. Box 495016, Mt. Berry, GA 30149-5016

Published online: 1 June 2000

Abstract. In recent years there has been increasing movement toward laboratory exercises that are inquiry-based, requiring students to assume more active roles in the learning process. A laboratory experiment was developed in this light, framed around a simple question, "Which freezes faster, hot water or cold water?" The experiment was used at the beginning of the general chemistry year-long course sequence and served as an introduction to the scientific process. Students were each asked to develop a hypothesis and then design a simple experiment to determine which freezes faster, hot water or cold water, using small cold baths to freeze the water. A strength of this experiment is that students not only design and perform the experiments, but at the end they evaluate each other's methods.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (31 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Student handout and Instructor notes (45 KB) 10.1007/s00897000381b

Issue date: June 1, 2000

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