P487: Introducing spectroscopic analysis of unknowns in the first year laboratory courses
In an NSF-funded revision of the first year laboratory sequence, students develop practical skills in the laboratory to prepare them to carry out tasks that chemists routinely do in research projects, such as purify and identify compounds. In the first laboratory course, called Purification 1, students purify a series of unknowns using various separation techniques and analyze them, primarily through NMR and IR techniques. In the second laboratory course, called Purification 2, students use a variety of chromatographic techniques to purify more unknowns. Students analyze their compounds utilizing MS and UV as well as the previously introduced NMR and IR techniques. Thus, interpretation of spectroscopic data must be introduced in these entry-level foundation laboratory courses. PowerPoint presentations, in-class practice problems and online resources have been developed for this purpose. This presentation will focus on the methods used to teach spectroscopic analysis to students who have little background in the structure of compounds or data analysis.