Subject: Lab Practical On Types Of Reactions
It has been my experience that students have little to no experience with relating a chemical equation on a piece of paper to something they actually see happen. It is as if the two ideas are not related at all. I find that this lab does an excellent job in teaching students to both interpret in equation form what they observe and anticipate observations when they have an equation to look at.
The following lab is to be undertaken by students after a significant amount of time is spent with pencil/paper/books identifying types of reactions (synthesis, decomposition, single replacement, double replacement, water forming, and combustion) based on known patterns, and predicting products of reactions when given reactants only. I recommend that it be used with AP or second year students, possibly with first year honors students but I would probably cut it in half (becuase of the amount of time it takes). However, I certainly would not use it with my ChemCom students.
The reactions I have included in this lab can be added to or deleted to make this the size lab you want to do. I'm sure you could come up with others to substitute as well. As it stands it will take many students a whole week of 50-minute labs to complete and then several more days at home to complete the report that must be submitted. Time can be reduced if you insist they have the equations written ahead of time.
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Judy Johnston (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wilmington High School, Wilmington, OH