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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 13 Issue 2 (2008) pp 87-91

Electronic Qualitative Analysis Schemes: Student-Developed Chemical Riddles Cross Borders

Thomas J. Manning,* Aurora Pérez Gramatges,* Sofia Ullah, Peter Vu, Landon Lasseter, Vineet Kumar, Jeff Felton, C.J. Mock and Geyser Fernández

Department of Chemistry, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698,, Departamento de Radioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias y Tecnologías Nucleares, Instituto Superior de Tecnologías y Ciencias Aplicadas (InSTEC), Quinta de los Molinos, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba, A.P. 6163,
Received March 4, 2007. Accepted June 4, 2007.

Published online: 1 April 2008

Abstract. Students in Cuba and the United States participate in a joint exercise entitled Electronic Qualitative Analysis Schemes (EQAS). In this novel exercise students are taught how to develop and write an EQAS in a spreadsheet. Students develop a series of questions that allows other participants to identify a chemical group, then a specific element or simple molecule. Once developed and tested, students exchange their riddles and use a binary code to help determine their unknown species. Each code turns on certain statements that allow students to solve the problem. The entire periodic table and a series of simple molecules can be covered in this exercise. An assessment finds that most general chemistry students participating in the project advanced their knowledge of elemental properties as well as further developed their ability to work with spreadsheets. The American students used an English version of the exercise while students in Havana (Cuba) used a Spanish version. The collaboration was the result of a trip by an American Chemical Society delegation to a conference held in Havana in October, 2006.

Key Words: Computers in Chemistry; general chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (62 KB) HTML format Español (62 KB)

Supporting Materials:

Included are Microsoft Excel and Word files generated by students. The Excel files contain the EQAS files developed by different groups of students and the Word files contain the answer keys. Also included is the alkali metals qual scheme file that is outlined in the body of this paper. (95 KB)

Issue date: April 1, 2008

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