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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 7 Issue 4 (2002) pp 207-210

The Making of a Solution: A Simple but Poorly Understood Concept in General Chemistry

Frank M. Dunnivant,*, Deberah M. Simon, and Steve Willson

Chemistry Department, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA 99362,, and Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, NM 87545
Received March 27, 2002. Accepted May 22, 2002

Published online: 26 July 2002

Abstract. A primary goal in many general chemistry laboratories is to teach students to properly perform dilutions and make solutions. This article presents a simple exercise to test if your students have acquired this ability from their introductory laboratory exercises. Our results indicate that approximately 50% of the students cannot perform this task on their first attempt, but with guidance and additional attempts their success rate improves. Approximately 30% of the students still fail at this task after additional attempts, but this exercise does improve the laboratory technique of all students. Students used a variety of dilution strategies to achieve the same final concentration; but the most common strategy used by the students was the one deemed most logical by the professors.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry;

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (228KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Solutions, Weights and Lab Technique, Solutions Data Sheet, and Instructor Notes (PDF 90 KB)10.1007/s00897020581b

Issue date: August 2, 2002

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