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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 20 (2015) pp 48-52

Investigating the Mass-Volume Relationship of Materials from Classic to Collaborative Cloud Experiment

Scott A. Sinex*,†, Theodore L. Chambers, and Joshua B. Halpern

Department of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Prince George’s Community College, Largo, MD, 20774,; Department of Chemistry, Howard University, Washington DC, 20059
Received October 20, 2014. Accepted January 23, 2015.

Published: 2 March 2015

Abstract. Determining the density of a solid object by measuring mass and volume by water displacement is a classic introductory chemistry experiment. In this activity students performed these measurements on a variety of steel bolts to derive density graphically using a collaborative cloud-based application (Google Drive) that has student groups contributing data into a spreadsheet using an online form. The spreadsheet is projected in the laboratory as data is entered; and real-time graphing of the data (mass versus volume) is presented along with computations of the slope (density), y-intercept, and r-squared. Student groups calculate the same information from their individual groups by hand-drawn graphs and using a pre-built spreadsheet. They then compare their data to the larger class set plus standard values. As a post-laboratory assignment, each group of students must prepare a collaborative laboratory report using a pre-designed template addressing further analysis and questions in which each group member contributes.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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