P678: Guided-inquiry in the general chemistry laboratory sequence
In traditional laboratory settings, experiments verifying course concepts are performed by students with the idea of directly reinforcing the material presented in lecture. Students often have little investment or ownership of the material or the way in which the experiment is conducted. Guided-inquiry approaches to laboratory increase engagement and responsibility of the students but come with their own set of challenges. In our general chemistry laboratory sequence, all activities are performed by students in self-managed teams with carefully developed in-house materials. Depending on the complexity of the laboratory experiment, the students have varying degrees of control over the experimental design used to address the question driving the activity. All activities support our general education outcomes demonstrating the process whereby science is conducted by involving the students in prediction, data collection, and analysis stages. Here we describe one of our general chemistry I activities introducing students to water purification and analysis. Included are challenges and lessons learned in materials development and implementation of this approach in the laboratory at the general chemistry level. Student and faculty perceptions for this activity will also be discussed.