Session S42a (Tuesday, 9:30am, CHEM 102)

P397: A report on using copper phytoremediation projects for teaching second semester general chemistry concepts and skills

Stephen Cessna, Tara Kishbaugh (Eastern Mennonite University, USA)

We describe a set of laboratory exercises centered on a theme of copper pollution and phytoremediation for the second semester of general chemistry, which engages students in context-rich open-ended research questions and also emphasizes learning of basic chemical concepts and skills in analysis.  The chemical concepts covered include equilibrium, thermodynamics (Gibbs free energy, enthalpy, entropy), and redox reactions.  Students also gain skills in analytical chemistry, including specific skills in using UV/vis and atomic absorption spectrometers, and more general analytical skills in study design, the use of analytical standards, and the statistical analysis of data.  Students generate a research paper on equilibrium soil-water distribution in changing pH and temperature, and present their findings in a peer-reviewed research poster session, judged by a research poster rubric that we developed.  We report our findings from three years of directing this project.


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