Curtis Pulliam (Utica College, USA), Michelle Boucher (Utica College, USA), Alyssa Thomas (Utica College, USA)
Four years ago we introduced an Introduction to Research Methods course for our first-year chemistry and biochemistry majors. One challenge was to find a way to correlate this new course with the 2nd semester of general chemistry laboratory, which is instrumentation driven and follows an atoms first approach. Our intention was to enhance the general laboratory experience while introducing more discipline-specific methods to our majors so that we could get them “thinking like chemists” from the beginning of their careers. Our approach is to take aspirin, the product from the first experiment in the 2nd semester of general chemistry, and fully characterize it both qualitatively (Iron(III) chloride solution, FT-IR, etc) and quantitatively (1H and 13C NMR, GC-MS, etc) using all the instrumentation available to us. Students write up ACS-style laboratory reports detailing their compound’s structure and purity.