Session S8 (Sunday, 2pm, Thomas 121)

P48: From qualitative to quantitative to written outcome: Applying instrumentation skills through scientific writing

Alyssa Thomas (Utica College, USA), Michelle Boucher (Utica College, USA), Curtis Pulliam (Utica College, USA)

During our Introduction to Research Methods course students take aspirin that they made in our general chemistry laboratory and characterize it both qualitatively (FeCl3, FT-IR) and quantitatively (1H and 13C NMR, GC-MS). The data and the spectra allow students to “think like a chemist” and use the methods by which we “see” molecules. The next challenge was to find ways for students to express what they have learned through their instrumental analysis of aspirin. Students write up ACS-style laboratory reports detailing their compound’s structure and purity, and also prepare an original proposal detailing the synthesis of another ester using a Fisher Esterfication procedure. The laboratory report is prepared in stages and students are expected to anticipate the results of qualitative tests for the proposed synthetic product as well as predict what the spectra will look like. This process of report writing and proposal presentation has resulted in students being more confident and ready to enter the organic chemistry sequence and participate in research.

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