Mitzy Erdmann, Joe March (University of Alabama – Birmingham, USA)
Little in-class time regarding sample handling, data collection, and keeping a scientific notebook is offered to students enrolling in college science courses for the first time. In order to address these points, a laboratory activity was created for the first laboratory session of a first-year general chemistry course. Students were presented background material on water quality and asked to develop a procedure for testing the pH of water samples using pH paper prior to attending class. Water samples provided by the instructor had been purposely shuffled, allowing the students’ results to be inconsistent across the class. The activity allowed for discussion of topics including but not limited to the importance of labeling samples, the need to test samples more than once, the ethics of reporting data that seems skewed and significant figures. This presentation will present the activity, sample student reports, and survey responses.