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ChemVLab+ project
Jodi Davenport
Virtual laboratory based on a web portal
Problem solving, Experiential learning
Fundamental Chemistry
Upper Secondary School
Students should have knowledge of chemistry at secondary level and its corresponding mathematical formalisms.
This resource contains the simulation of four experimental activities, covering the following topics: concentration, unit conversion, molar mass, balancing reactions, and using stoichiometry.
The aims of the project are to:
Create Virtual Lab activities with embedded assessments that are aligned with core high school chemistry content and inquiry standards,
Create individualized coaching that is responsive to student behaviors and allows each student to progress at his or her own pace.
Develop a reporting system that enables students to monitor their own progress and allows teachers to quickly see overall patterns in student performance, so that they may tailor their on going instruction.
Students are confronted with four hypothetical problem situations and are proposed to solve them by pretending to be real scientists and using a virtual lab. The first situation, Activity 1, focuses on concentration and dilution in the context of preparing drinks with differing concentrations. Students complete interactive activities to sort drinks according to concentration and then use a spectrometer in the virtual lab to determine concentration and create solutions with specified concentrations. The second Activity students must determine whether the factories in a fictional town are adhering to the guidelines the city has established for their emissions. The challenge is that, for some factories, the collection point is downstream and so dilution plays an important role in deciding if a given factory is in compliance. Students determine the molar masses of different compounds and use the virtual lab to create dilutions and evaluate the water samples. In the third Activity, Gravimetric Analysis, students first learn how gravimetric analysis can be used to determine the concentration of various species in water, through a combination of particulate-level representations and virtual lab activities. They then use this knowledge to test for sulfates in drinking water. Students use the virtual lab to determine which reactions form precipitates, balance chemical equations, and carry out inquiry to evaluate the concentration of sulfates in water. The Activity 4 takes a very actual issue, Bioremediation of Oil Spills. Getting bacteria to eat oil is a powerful approach to cleaning up oil spills, and the first step is adding a bioremediation accelerator to form clumps that the bacteria will eat. In this activity, students perform experiments to determine the stoichiometric relationship between the accelerator molecules and the oil molecules, so that they can recommend the correct amount of accelerator to the clean-up crew. The reaction between the remediator and the oil provides a context for understanding stoichiometric proportions and limiting reagents.
Teachers can use in class as a proposed laboratory work group. It is one of four assigned topics to each working group.
The layout is well presented, warm and appealing colours. Works well, without failure. Arouses the curiosity of the user. Approaches current issues in chemistry and of daily life. Students are able achieve the purpose by themselves since as they solve the questions they are not allowed to continue if not answer correctly and in that case, doubts are clarified.
It would be an asset to this resource whether this being available in at least one more language
The reliability of the resource in question is well grounded since it led to three scientific articles in the area of educational chemistry research.
Has a high value since pedagogical help students connect procedural knowledge of mathematical formalisms with authentic chemistry learning by allowing them to design and carry out experiments.
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.03.15

Posted by Papatheodosiou Kalliopi (Greece)

Message: Chem Vlab is a simulation software in which chemical processes and phenomena are simulated and can be analyzed and studied. This software can be adapted to different modules such as environmental chemistry. It can also be used successfully in studying the concentration and molar mass. It is easy to use, with an attractive layout.
Using the software can increase student interest as students have the opportunity to study various phenomena and perform virtual experiments. They can change the parameters and get directly involved in the process themselves. Each student can work at his/her own pace in a virtual laboratory. For example they can choose the materials and compounds which they use in order to find the concentration of a solution.
By using the virtual laboratory students can understand easier and faster the material and they are able to solve problems imitating real scientists.
Students can even design and carry out many, different experiments. It is an interactive process, which increases students’ interest in chemistry. They can also work in groups and they can also collaborate in order to design an experiment or solve a problem. Another positive aspect of the software is that the students have the ability to monitor their own progress.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.