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Doing Chemistry Project Information

Important Notice
Safety
Lesson Labels
Section Explanation
Handouts
History
Copyright
Acknowledgements


Important Notice

Doing Chemistry

Doing Chemistry is a project of the American Chemical Society sponsored by the National Science Foundation (TPE 84-70375). The original project consisted of six videodisc sides. Most of the images from those videodiscs are now compressed onto the CD-ROM version together with computer versions of the written materials. These are the materials that are available on this website.

Important Notice

Doing Chemistry is intended for use by high school teachers. The experiments suggested for students are intended to be performed under the direct supervision of a qualified chemistry teacher. The experiments described in these materials involve chemicals that may be harmful if they are misused or if the procedures described are not followed. Read cautions carefully, and follow all directions. Do not use or combine any chemicals, substances, or materials not specifically called for in carrying out experiments. Other chemicals are mentioned for educational purposes only and should not be used by students unless the instructions specifically so indicate.

The materials contained in Doing Chemistry have been compiled by recognized authorities from sources believed to be reliable and to represent the best opinions on the subject, in order to provide materials for in-service chemistry teachers. Doing Chemistry is intended to serve only as a starting point for good practices and does not purport to specify minimal legal standards or to represent the policy of the American Chemical Society. No warranty, guarantee, or representation is made by the American Chemical Society as to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information contained herein, and the Society assumes no responsibility in connection therewith. Doing Chemistry is intended to provide basic guidelines for safe practices. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that all necessary warnings and precautionary measures are contained in these materials and that other or additional information or measures may not be required. Users of Doing Chemistry should consult pertinent local, state, and federal laws and legal counsel prior to initiating any instructional laboratory program.

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Safety

Chemistry teachers are expected to conduct hands-on laboratories in a safe manner. Each experiment in Doing Chemistry provides recommendations about specific safety issues. There are some general notions about safety for teachers.

Control the amount of material that you put out for students. Control the amount of material you keep in inventory. The smaller the amount put out, the better. This is especially true for flammable solvents and concentrated acids and bases. Both safety problems and disposal problems are likely to be reduced. Rather than purchase chemicals in large quantities to obtain lower prices, purchase amounts likely to be consumed in one or two years. (Even this rule of thumb must be applied with caution; some chemicals, such as ethers, form unstable, reactive compounds that make shelf storage for even one year an unsafe practice.)

Organize your storeroom. Store chemicals according to their patterns of reactivity; do not store all of the chemicals together alphabetically. Many publications are available to help in this regard. The American Chemical Society publishes a handbook, Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories, that will provide many appropriate suggestions. Consult the Society to obtain the current volume of this important handbook. Your community is likely to have a chemical storage/disposal expert, probably someone connected with your local fire safety program. New teachers will benefit from the advice of such an expert, especially if they come into a teaching laboratory situation with improperly inventoried and/or stored chemicals.

Toxic chemicals may enter the body via ingestion. This is why eating and drinking are forbidden in laboratories, and why one washes one's hands before leaving laboratory. Toxic substances more often enter the body through the skin or lungs. Be certain that your experimental area has adequate ventilation. If it does not, do not perform an experiment that calls for ventilation. Wear gloves and aprons when they are called for in an experiment.

It is also important for you to have an active, visible, enforced safety program. Demand that eye protection be worn at all times. Insist that eye protection meet the legal standards of your community. Ask questions about safety on your quizzes and tests. Establish safety guidelines for your students. One approach is to have students (and legal guardians) sign safety regulations. Provide two copies, one for your files and one for the student's reference. These may be written in the form of a safety contract with the student. Consult local school district authorities to determine the details of how such a set of safety regulations should be written and presented to the students. Among the many guidelines that may be found in such contracts, here are some items to consider:

An unprepared laboratory worker is an unsafe worker; read advance assignments before coming to laboratory. Read the hazards and precautions before doing any laboratory work. If there is anything you do not understand about safety, ask your instructor before you start.

  • Safety goggles must be worn at all times.
  • Know the location of and operating procedure for the eye wash fountains and safety showers.
  • Do not perform any unauthorized experiments. Consult your teacher before trying an experiment that is not prescribed in your materials.
  • Never put any thing in your mouth while working in the laboratory; never eat or drink in the laboratory.
  • Wash your hands frequently; always wash your hands immediately after finishing laboratory work. Wash spilled chemicals from your skin immediately using large amounts of water. Wash spilled chemicals from benchtops.
  • Use gloves when required.
  • Use a hood for ventilation as directed.
  • Never inhale chemicals directly. A few experiments suggest waving your hand above a chemical and then sniffing your hand. Even this procedure should only be used as directed.
  • Notify the instructor immediately in case of a fire. Locate the fire protection devices. Most fires can be smothered with a towel. Constrain long hair and loose clothing.
  • Hot glass and hot metal look like cool glass and cool metal. Bring a finger near recently heated materials to be sure that they are cool enough to handle before touching.
  • Never remove any chemicals from the laboratory.
  • Use extreme caution when working with glass tubing, especially when using tubing and rubber stoppers. Wear gloves, lubricate glass with a suitable lubricant, and use cloth towels to wrap both tubing and stoppers.
  • Use caution when handling electrical devices. A slight tingling sensation detected in a device indicates a very hazardous situation. Use ground fault interrupters when these will provide added safety.
  • Practical jokes or horse play in the laboratory are prohibited.
  • Never run in the laboratory.
  • Never work alone in a laboratory. Always have another worker present to help in case of an accident.
  • Report all accidents, even minor cuts, to your instructor immediately.
  • Follow the specified disposal procedures given for each waste material produced during an experiment

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Lesson Labels

All experiments are arranged by a number. Similar types of experiments are grouped together.

Lesson labels also reflect the type of activity being described. DEMO suggests an activity best performed as teacher-centered classroom demonstration. Lessons labelled EXPT are best performed as student-centered classroom experiments. Lessons labelled DMEX may be performed in either mode, the choice depending upon available equipment, other resources, the nature of the specific student group, the space available, and other factors. The authors encourage the use of students as doers and thinkers in all of the DEMO experiments, except in cases where safety or skill-level reasons might preclude students doing. Several DEMO experiments may be performed by students if sufficient equipment is available.

All teachers should begin their review of these materials by consulting "General Techniques for Teachers" for general suggestions about practice.

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Section Explanation

Materials, Procedure, Time:

Microscale:

Set, Closure, and Background:

Presentation Questions:

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Handouts

When handout materials are required for an experiment, copies for duplication may be printed and copied from Doing Chemistry materials. You are permitted to duplicate handout materials.

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History

A Brief History:

During the Summer, 1983, the University of California at Los Angeles supported a group of chemistry teachers from Southern California led by Dr. Arlene A. Russell in the development of materials for use in mainstream high school chemistry classrooms. Their lessons served as the nucleus for Doing Chemistry. In early 1984, a group of American Chemical Society members developed a project for support of a national in-service chemistry teacher education project based upon the UCLA materials which was funded by the National Science Foundation. Most of the video material was filmed at Hamilton High School, Los Angeles. Today the ACS/NSF materials are known as Doing Chemistry. The videodisc images were digitized for computer playback by Helen B. Brooks at Synaps under a contract from the ACS.

Principal contributors to this project include: John Beck; David W. Brooks; Helen B. Brooks, Kenneth M. Chapman; David A. Daniel; Dianne N. Epp; Richard A. Erdman; Paul Farrington; Martha Florence; Maria A. Freeman; Michael L. Glahn; Barbara L. Gonzalez; Connie A. Grosse; Kenneth Hartman; E. Russell Hardwick; J. J. Lagowski; Edward J. Lyons; Jack G. McBride; James E. McGahan; Paula Miles; John W. Moore; M. Patricia Noel; Moses Passer; Arlene A. Russell; Leonard B. Soloff; Constance M. Sparks; J. Mark Turner; and Lawrence A. Walker

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Copyright

Copyright 1988, 1994 by the American Chemical Society

All rights reserved. No parts of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing. For permission and other rights under this copyright, please contact:

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. MDR 84-70735 and TPE 84-70375. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Any mention of tradenames does not imply endorsement by the National Science Foundation.

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Acknowledgements

The Doing Chemistry staff has not made a systematic effort to attribute original authorship of the experiments presented in these materials. Many of these experiments and procedures have histories over fifty years long. It is very often the unnamed classroom teacher who discovers a slightly different mode of presentation or approach to an experiment who makes an important chemical concept workable as an in-classroom activity in high school chemistry.

The reviewing of these materials by many individuals has greatly enhanced their usefulness. Lee R. Summerlin provided exhaustive content, pedagogical and safety reviews. Arlene A Russell, Kenneth M. Chapman, Anne R. Crawford, and Helen B. Brooks provided extensive reviews. Stanley H. Pine and Jay A. Young provided thorough safety reviews. Selected experiments were reviewed  Richard A. Erdman, Paul Farrington, Maria A. Freeman, Michael L. Glahn, Barbara L. Gonzalez, Connie A. Grosse, E. Russell Hardwick, James E. McGahan, M. Patricia Noel, Leonard B. Soloff, Constance M.Sparks, and J. Mark Turner.

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Last revised: 12/6/06