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Chemical Kinetics Unit. Joe Bengiovanni and Erin Sicard Virtual Molecular Dynamics Laboratory Workshop July 1-12, 2002 Boston University. Introduction. Topics covered: collision theory, activation energy, catalysis, rates of reactions, first-order reactions, second-order reactions.

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chemical kinetics unit
Chemical Kinetics Unit

Joe Bengiovanni and Erin Sicard

Virtual Molecular Dynamics Laboratory Workshop

July 1-12, 2002

Boston University


Topics covered: collision theory, activation energy, catalysis, rates of reactions,

first-order reactions, second-order reactions

  • Unit provides a logical progression through a difficult topic in Chemistry.
  • Wet lab components
  • Computer simulation components
  • -serve to enhance learning and understanding of the material.
  • -give students concrete data they can work with.
  • Students will inquire about phenomenon observed in demonstrations and Simulabs.
  • Designed for 11th grade college bound chemistry I students
  • Students who struggle with conceptual/abstract ideas will benefit from simulations
  • MCAS requirement: -students will have to pass 2 science tests to graduate
  • -comprehensive understanding is required to pass this test
  • SAT II: 7% of test questions are from equilibrium and reaction rates topics
placement in the curriculum
Placement in the Curriculum
  • Unit adheres to Massachusetts State Frameworks
  • Unit directly follows unit on solutions
  • Students will already have insight on dynamic nature of chemical reactions
  • -Gas laws, thermochemistry, reactions . . . .
  • Simulabs will be used to enhance learning in addition to wet labs
  • Students gain understanding of the dynamic nature of reactions
  • Students apply conceptual knowledge to practical activities
  • Students understand that “Chemical reactions occur at different rates.”
  • –Massachusetts State Frameworks
student objectives
Student Objectives
  • Students will be able to:
  • Discuss the dependence of reaction rates on concentration, temperature, and surface
  • area
  • Describe the importance of molecular collisions to reaction rates
  • Define and show how to calculate activation energy
  • Explain how a catalyst/enzyme affects a reaction
  • Contrast first order and second order reactions
  • Determine reaction rates from experimental data
  • Practice techniques of data collection and graphical analysis
  • Approximately six 50 minute class periods and two 90 minute lab periods
  • Major preparation: Crystal Violet lab, Clock lab
  • Students can help set up/take down some activities: Toothpickase, Buret lab
  • Preparation of demonstrations
  • Kinetics Unit directly followed by Equilibrium Unit
computer needs
Computer Needs
  • 8-10 computers in classroom to accommodate groups of 2-3 students
  • A full computer lab (at least 24 computers) 1 per student
  • Projection or television with computer hookup to show Simulab demonstrations in
  • class
  • VMDL software and Simulab files


VMDL software and Simulab files

Crystal Violet lab:

Vernier Colorimeter

Calculator Based Laboratory (CBL) System

Vernier Adaptor Cable

Crystal violet chemical

Graphing calculator


30% Hydrogen Peroxide (try pool shock)


unit time line
Unit Time Line

Day 1

Discussion -Intro to reactions.

Discussion -Collision theory, rates in general (slow, fast, medium). .

Demonstrations -rust, Mg +HCl, Plaster

Day 2

Discussion -Factors affecting reaction rates (temp, pressure, volume, concentration, surface area)

Demonstration -Candle/Candle-1 Simulab

Assignment -Design an Experiment project

unit time line11
Unit Time Line

Day 3 -Double lab period

Discussion -Activation energy

Demonstration -MnO2 + H2O2

Activity -Toothpickase

Discussion -Intro to catalyst and enzymes

Activity -The Clock Reaction

Assignment -The Clock Reaction –Graphical analysis

Day 4

Discussion -Rate laws

Activity -1st order Simulab

Assignment -Answer Simulab questions homework

Day 5

Review -1st order Simulab- hand in results and graphs

Activity -Kinetics of a Draining Buret mini wet lab

Classwork -Buret lab questions 1-8

unit time line12
Unit Time Line

Day 6

Review -Day 5 classwork

Discussion -2nd order reactions

Demonstration -2nd order Simulab

Day 7 –Double Lab periodLab Activity -Rate law determination of the Crystal Violet Reaction

Assignment -Full lab report write up due 1 week from date of lab

Day 8

Discussion -Review Crystal Violet Lab

Quiz -Rate laws

Click here for outline text file

instructional activities
Instructional Activities

“Toothpickase” -Illustrates the relationship between concentration and rate -Demonstrates how enzymes are catalysts

Kinetics of a -Practice in determining reaction rates Draining Buret

First Order Simulab -Provides a dynamic picture of reactions for visual learners

Rate Law Determination -Students use experimental conditions to support study of of the Crystal Violet reaction rates Reaction

The Clock Reaction –Examines important factors (concentration and temperature) that affect reaction rates





MnO2 + H2O2

-show examples of rusted metal and non-rusted metal (slow reaction)

-mix a bit of plaster with water at beginning of class. By end of class it should stiffen and get warmer. (medium rate, exothermic reaction)

-mix a bit of Mg(s) with dilute HCl and see the immediate evolution of gas. (fast reaction) Collect gas in an inverted test tube and ignite with a glowing splint for added effect.

-Using 3% H2O2, add a few grams of MnO2 to show catalyzed decomposition of H2O2 to H2O and ½ O2. Ignite a glowing splint over gas to show oxygen production. For added effect, add a drop of food coloring to 30% H2O2 in a large graduated cylinder then add MnO2.

simulab demonstrations
Simulab Demonstrations

Candle/Candle-1 Simulab -Show these 2 simulations side by side in order to demonstrate the importance of surface area on reaction rates. Candle Simulations are found under Universal/Additional Files.

2nd Order Simulab -This can be done as a whole class activity. Follow procedure 2.2 Second order reaction from page 13 of the yellow book. Data tables can be constructed on the board by the teacher and volunteers and each student can sketch the graphs from the data.

Please note: Any of the Simulabs can be used for demonstration purposes if time or resources are limiting.

adjustments adaptations
  • Reac2000 Simulab may replace Clock lab part II: Effects of Temperature
  • If computers are not easily available, only one Simulab may be done
  • - For instance, do only the first order of reactions simulab
  • - Adapt the others as in-class demos and discussions
  • Have a single teacher-run Simulab and do the analysis as a class.
  • Supplement catalyst information with addition of Catalyst Simulab
  • First order Simulab questions and graphs from Yellow Book page 10
  • Toothpickase graph and questions homework
  • Experimental Design performance assessment
  • Draining Buret activity question
  • Crystal Violet lab report -rubric
  • Lab writeup section of Buret Kinetics lab may also be assigned (optional)

Toothpickase Activity

SAT II Chemistry Subject Test Format- The College Board

Massachusetts State Frameworks- Department of Education

Vernier Software and Technology

Addison-Wesley, Chemistry Laboratory Manual, Prentice Hall 2000

Virtual Molecular Dynamics Laboratory Manuals and Software, Center for Polymer

Studies, Boston University 2002

contact info
Contact Info

Joe Bengiovanni -

Erin Sicard -