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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 6 Issue 4 (2001) pp 217-220

A Nontraditional Laboratory Proposal: Investigating the Kinetics of a Chemical Reaction

Fabiana C. Gennari,* Julio J. Andrade Gamboa, Hugo Corso, and Andrés Raviolo

Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Quintral 1250, (8400) San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina, and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)
Received January 8, 2001. Accepted March 8, 2001

Published online: 11 May 2001

Abstract. This paper presents an unstructured laboratory in which students determine the rate law for a reaction. We have selected for this investigation the reaction between magnesium and hydrochloric acid. The general goal of the proposal is threefold: (1) to increase studentsí interest in science during first-year chemistry; (2) to create a more active learning environment where students can learn and do science as scientists; and (3) to develop and promote critical thinking, analytical reasoning, collaboration, and interactive discussion based on a scientific problem. This laboratory has proven to be effective because the students, with some guidance from the instructor, were able to (1) state one or more hypotheses related to the problem under study (chemical kinetics); (2) design procedures and strategies to answer specific questions; and (3) establish methods to manipulate and interpret the data. Finally, the students were required to write a report. In this way, the laboratory promotes creativity and improves studentsí critical thinking in an introductory course of university general chemistry.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; chemical kinetics; reaction rate; active learning

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: gennari@cab.cnea.gov.ar)

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Issue date: August 3, 2001

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