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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 10 Issue 1 (2004) pp 1-4

Trucks, Sales, Mechanics, and Repairs: An Analogy for the Method of Initial Rates

DeeDee Allen, and Maria T. Oliver-Hoyo

Department of Natural Science & Mathematics, Shaw University, Raleigh, NC 27601,; and Department of Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
Received July 7, 2004. Accepted October 4, 2004.

Published online: 9 December 2004

Abstract. This article describes an analogical activity designed to introduce students to the method of initial rates using the familiar events of automobile sales and repairs. This topic is traditionally presented to students in introductory chemistry as a mathematical treatment of data where well-defined procedures are followed in order to write rate laws for reactions. The analogy is used to simulate each step of the method of initial rates prior to involving any chemical components and is designed to make the process more intuitive to students. A worksheet is included as supporting material that presents the analogical activity utilizing an inquiry-based approach.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; kinetics; method of initial rates

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (168 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:


Supporting Materials:


Supporting Materials:

The content of Figures 1 through 4 have been formatted into a worksheet, which is available in a Zip file (10 KB) as supporting material.

Issue date: February 1, 2005

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