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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 21 (2016) pp 5-9

The Purification of River Water: An Open-Inquiry Experiment for the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory

Aaron J. Lacy, Carol Cross, and Joseph G. Nguyen*

Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University, 1330 Elmhurst Drive NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402,
Received September 6, 2015. Accepted December 11, 2015.

Published: 8 January 2016

Abstract. An open-inquiry experiment involving the purification of river water is described. The water purification laboratory covered a period of three weeks, which included a planning, implementation, and assessment period. The purpose of the experiment was to make the students aware of universal issues regarding the limited access to drinkable water, while simultaneously learning concepts not traditionally taught in a general chemistry course. The gains in knowledge were assessed through pre- and post-experiment quizzes, and the students’ experiences were analyzed utilizing a 6-point Likert experience survey. The students performed significantly better on the post-assessment and had a highly positive experience with the experiment.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; open-inquiry laboratory; water purification

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (40 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

The laboratory handout, pre- and post-quizzes, and experience survey are provided in the supplementary materials (29 KB).

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