To teach students about chemical reactions, sophomores in Jennifer Conder’s Chemistry Honors classes completed a lab that involved creating reactions.

“I wanted the students to have a hands-on approach to be able to see different reaction types,” Conder said. “I also wanted them to be able to visually see what is going on instead of only reading about it.”

Students were required to transition to multiple stations and use acids, as well as other chemical materials, to create reactions in groups. The reactions were combining chemicals to stable objects such as nails, zinc pieces and solutions.

“This lab was a great experience because it lets us do hands-on work which leads to a better and more enjoyable time and seeing the actual reactions happen made me more intrigued to learn about them,” sophomore Ashley Mussio said. “I got to see an actual nail produce copper after it was dissolved in the chloride solution and that really got me to see a whole other level of chemicals reacting together.”

Chemicals used in the lab included magnesium and oxygen, hydrogen peroxide and oxygen, iron and copper chloride, and zinc and hydrochloric acid.

“I think the lab is a great way for us to work collaboratively and we got to see actual chemical and physical reactions occur which was really interesting,” sophomore Natalia Cruz said. “It was also a way for us to visually see what was happening and usually labs we’ve done don’t contain actual explosions.

 After their current lesson, students will transition into learning about moles and molecules.

“I expect students to understand reactions a lot better since they could see and also feel the changes from the stable state and then the product,” Conder said. “It was a great example for the different reactions types we’re studying about and I hope that the students retain what they learned.”

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