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Laboratory Based Case Studies. Frank J. Dinan Dept. of Chemistry/Biochemistry Canisius College. Cookbook-101. Re-crystallization Experiment

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laboratory based case studies

Laboratory Based Case Studies

Frank J. Dinan

Dept. of Chemistry/Biochemistry

Canisius College

cookbook 101
  • Re-crystallization Experiment
  • Set up a sand bath assembly as follows: Requisition a Thermowell heater, support plate and digital thermometer. Attach the support plate to a ring stand. Fill the cavity of the Thermowell heater with sand to within one centimeter of the top and set it on the support plate. Adjust the apparatus to a convenient height. Position the digital thermometer so that the tip of the probe almost touches (< 1 centimeter) the bottom center of the heating well (DO NOT USE A MERCURY THERMOMETER). Secure the thermometer to the ring stand with a one-hole rubber stopper and a three-pronged clamp. Connect the Thermowell heater to a (disconnected) Powermate heat controller, or its equivalent. After assuring that the Powermate control is in the OFF mode, connect it to an electrical outlet. Place it on a low setting (setting 2 for Model 3A). The sand at the bottom of the well should reach 100 deg. C within 20 minutes. If this does not occur, increase the dial setting by one unit and wait for 5 minutes for continued heating, then note the temperature. If the temperature has not yet reached 100 deg. C, repeat the process until the temperature remains a little (<5 deg.) above 100 deg.. The thermometer may then be removed. Record the Powermate setting in the indicated spot on page 2 of the data sheet provided for this experiment.
  • Etc, etc.,etc..
a teacher s tale
A Teacher’s Tale
  • Frustration with expository (cookbook) labs
  • The “solution”
  • The response
  • Resignation
strengths of expository labs
Strengths of Expository Labs
  • Topic well defined
  • Explicit instructions
  • Goal known in advance
  • Teaches technique
  • Minimal investment in equipment, personnel
  • Simultaneous instruction of large numbers
weaknesses of expository labs
Weaknesses of Expository Labs
  • “Cookbook” directions
  • No creativity or HOTS
  • Minimal learning
  • No reflection, synthesis or analysis
  • Reports forms to be “filled out”
lab based case studies goals
Lab Based Case Studies Goals:

*Increased student involvement, responsibility.

*Student planning of work, evaluation of data, interpretation of results.

*“Real-world” reports.

characteristics of lab based cases
Characteristics of Lab Based Cases

***A Good Hook***

  • Challenging problem, experimental solution
  • Minimal, but appropriate, faculty guidance provided
  • Consideration of student safety
  • Requires “real-world”, narrative report
  • Examples follow
avogadro goes to court wsj
Avogadro Goes to Court(WSJ)
  • Originally 2300 word case study
  • Professor’s challenge to class
  • Successfully student law suite
  • Remission of tuition, damages
  • Lab/class case--same challenge
avogadro goes to court but you can save him
Avogadro Goes to Court, But You Can Save Him
  • Shortened (~2300 to ~350 words)
  • Briefly outlined
  • Challenged to save Avogadro
  • Students plan experimental approach
  • Equipment, material available on request
  • Experiments carried out, calculations done
  • Narrative report to law firm of Dewey Cheatem & Howe
analysis of a murder lab case npr
Analysis of a Murder Lab Case(NPR)
  • Boy’s headless, limbless, nude torso floating in Thames
  • Ritual sacrifice
  • Identification seemingly impossible
  • Professor’s research on Sr distribution
  • Bone Sr content indicated Nigerian origin
  • Analysis narrowed origin to 500 sq. mi. region
  • Clever detective work led to apprehension of ”persons of interest”
analysis of a murder lab case
Analysis of a Murder Lab Case
  • Students given summary of case
  • Act to “assist” Scotland Yard
  • Given victim’s “bone sample” for analysis
  • Given samples “from different regions of Nigeria”
  • Student experimental data indicates location of victim’s Nigerian home
  • Students act as detectives, plan apprehension of killer
  • Report of case written to “Chief Inspector”
  • Published in Journal of Chem. Education, 2007
two versions of murder case
Two Versions of Murder Case
  • Versions for advanced and intro. courses
  • Advanced version: students analyze “bone samples” for their Sr concentration
  • Intro. level version: students interpret Sr concentration data sets
  • In both, data evaluated, conclusions drawn, plan formulated, report written
fda inspired lab case
FDA Inspired Lab Case
  • Juicing the juice complaint (FDA)
  • Fresh vs. reconstituted orange juice
  • Fluoride ion concentration key difference
  • Fluoride ion selective electrode
  • Students approach based on F ion concentration in two juice types.
a metabolic murder mystery16
A Metabolic Murder Mystery

Same Case, Two Labortory Experiments

  • Patricia Stallings murder accusation
  • Conviction, reversal, release, apology
  • Students placed in role of lab personnel
  • Results “determine guilt or innocence”
  • Must avoid errors of hospital laboratory
  • Gas chromatography, general chemistry
  • PCR, biochemistry laboratory
why narrative reports
Why Narrative Reports?
  • Lab reports often form(s)
  • Unlike “real-world” reports
  • Science students writing skills often inferior to liberal arts students
  • Lack of practice, experience
  • Student’s skills improve sharply with practice, instruction
  • Poor quality reports returned for re-writing.
additional lab based case studies
Additional Lab Based Case Studies
  • Accidental Drowning or Foul Play by Monica Konaklieva, American Univ.
  • Filthy Lucre by Ed Acheson, Millen Univ.
  • Dem Bones: Forensic Reconstruction by Alease Bruce, U. Of Mass. At Lowell
  • Shark Attack! by Herbert House, Elon University
  • The Zoom Lens: A Case study in Optics by Alan Cheville, Oklahoma State University
your turn
Your Turn!
  • Develop lab based case
  • Good “hook”
  • Student directions
  • Learning goals
  • Narrative report