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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 21 (2016) pp 23-26

An Open-Ended Inquiry Based Synthesis Project in Upper Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Teaching Laboratory Course

Zerihun Assefa*

Department of Chemistry, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina 27411,
Received November 19, 2015. Accepted January 9, 2016.

Published: 18 January 2016

Abstract. An open-ended inquiry based (OI) synthesis project using research style format has been introduced into a senior level undergraduate inorganic chemistry laboratory course where students actively designed the synthetic protocol and conducted the experiments and characterization procedures. The project was selected by the instructor after thorough literature survey that revealed limited work in the area of interest and the likely potential for students to attain publishable results. The students were then given the opportunity to develop the synthetic protocol in a team led discussion. Difficulties in their protocols and experimental steps provided learning opportunities where students constantly assessed their experimental steps and modified their work progress. Instructor’s involvement was intentionally minimal in the entire project. Evaluation of the students’ work was based on their approach in troubleshooting and creative approach in spectral analysis as well as their role and contribution in the team work. The students concluded their project with oral presentation and detailed report which led to technical writing. The laboratory work where students played a key role in the design and implementation of the experiments were highly motivational as noted in this course.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; inorganic chemistry; open inquiry; guided inquiry; metal organic framework

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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