Session S34c (Tuesday, 2pm, Wartik 105)

P530: PlayChem: A computer controlled hands-on general chemistry laboratory extra credit program

Rudolph W. Kluiber (Rutgers University, USA)

Short simple experiments such as making a bouncing polymer, determining a molecular formula, crushing soda cans, analyzing bleach or converting a copper penny into “gold” are fun to do but do not always fit well in college level chemistry. We have created a computer program, PlayChem http://genchem.rutgers.edu/PlayChem, which provides a web-based description of these experiments, prints out individualized directions, accepts student data and calculations, warns of calculation errors, asks college level questions and finally grades the work.  Students work individually and  grades are recorded as extra credit in General Chemistry Laboratory. Each experiment requires about an hour and the computer does almost all of the instructor’s work.   Five extra credit experiments, each done during a 1 week window, are scheduled per semester. About 50-70 % of our students do these  and at the end of the semester about 30% claim one of these as “most memorable” of the course.

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