P593: Investigating the mass-volume relationship from classic to collaborative cloud experiment
Determining the density of a solid object by measuring mass and volume by water displacement is a classic introductory chemistry experiment. Students performed these measurements on a variety of steel bolts to derive density graphically using a collaborative cloud-based application (Google Drive) that has student groups contributing data into a spreadsheet via an online form. The spreadsheet is projected in the laboratory as data is entered, real-time graphing of the data (mass as a function of volume) is presented along with computations of the slope (density), y-intercept, and r-squared (measure of goodness-of-fit). Student groups derive the same information for their group data (six samples) by hand-drawn graphing and using a pre-built spreadsheet, and then compare their data to the larger class set of thirty-six samples plus standard values (derived by instructors). As a post-laboratory assignment, the students in each group must prepare a collaborative laboratory report using a pre-designed template addressing further analysis and questions. All students must have Google accounts to do within group sharing, and the instructor must set up appropriately shared group folders and associated documents and a spreadsheet. We also provide links to the online form, class spreadsheet, and evaluation. A discussion of the collaboration required of students is done prior to data collection. We will highlight the student experience and overall results of their analysis. A density comparison and error analysis extension activity done using an interactive spreadsheet will also be shared. This work was supported by our NSF PREM Grant Number DMR-1205608.