Session S1a (Sunday, 2pm, Thomas 215)

P3: Investigating geologically important samples in the general chemistry laboratory: Analysis of alkaline lake waters for the quantitative determination of alkalinity, dissolved solids, and calcium and magnesium ions

Dharshi Bopegedera (The Evergreen State College, USA), Christopher Coughenour (The Evergreen State College, USA)

The general chemistry laboratory has a crowded agenda – learning lab skills, making connections with concepts, honing critical thinking skills take time. This added to the high enrollment, short weekly lab periods, and safety concerns make it easy for the instructors to want to use tried and tested (and boring?) labs because they work! This contradicts with our desire to provide students opportunities to solve real world problems that ensures higher retention.  We will present experiments we designed to analyze water from alkaline lakes for the quantitative determination of alkalinity, dissolved solids, calcium and magnesium ions with general chemistry students. Sample collection, experimental methods, data and analysis will be presented.  Pedagogical concerns such as lab teams, using multiple lab periods and instrumentation, and analyzing class data will be addressed. The rich interdisciplinary environment that fostered this work and its link to field work in geology will be discussed.


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