Overview

In this activity, students are presented with a case study in which the challenge is to identify the compound responsible for an explosion in a laboratory (and in doing so, identify the individual behind the explosion).

Working in pairs, students will determine molar masses, % mass composition, and empirical formulas for various compounds in order to eliminate all but one compound (and therefore suspect).

Students then vote on the guilty party. Groups that voted for different suspects join forces to collaborate and compare their work. In these larger groups, students discuss their reasoning before coming to a conclusion for a second ...

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In this activity, students are presented with a case study in which the challenge is to identify the compound responsible for an explosion in a laboratory (and in doing so, identify the individual behind the explosion).

Working in pairs, students will determine molar masses, % mass composition, and empirical formulas for various compounds in order to eliminate all but one compound (and therefore suspect).

Students then vote on the guilty party. Groups that voted for different suspects join forces to collaborate and compare their work. In these larger groups, students discuss their reasoning before coming to a conclusion for a second vote.

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Objectives

To promote development of skills required to solve complex problems including the following: knowledge application, analysis and evaluation of solution. Students learn to identify substances based on clues such as molar mass.

Context and requirements

Level Grade 10-Grade 11, Grade 12-U0
Discipline Chemistry
Course General/Introductory Chemistry
Activity Content Molar mass, % mass composition and empirical/molecular formulas.
Technological Requirements None
Best Use Practice, Review

Author’s Notes

Benefits

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Challenges

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Tips

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Activity Pedagogical Components

Problem Solving

Working in PAIRS, students review the concepts of molar mass, % mass composition, and empirical/molecular formulas by solving 1-2 sample problems. This task is completed IN CLASS.

Case Study

Working in PAIRS, students are presented with a case study in which students must identify the compound responsible for an explosion in a laboratory (and the individual behind this explosion). They must employ their Chemistry knowledge of molar mass, % mass composition and empirical/molecular formulas to achieve their goal. All tasks are completed IN CLASS.

Debate

In larger GROUPS, pairs that voted for different suspects discuss and debate their findings. This task is completed IN CLASS.

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