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Chemistry & Physics Department Hosts Workshops for High School AP Chemistry Students

Students from local high schools participate in event at Belmont

“Back Titrations:  Neutralizing Agents – How Basic is It?,” a guided inquiry workshop for Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry high school students, was recently hosted by Belmont’s Department of Chemistry and Physics. Event organizer Dr. Danielle Garrett, assistant professor of chemistry education, held two half-day workshops in the chemistry labs in the Janet Ayers Academic Center in early December.

AP chemistry classes from Christ Presbyterian Academy and Clarksville Academy brought 29 participating students. In these hands-on workshops, students learned how to perform back-titrations and used this technique to compare the effectiveness of neutralizing agents in commercial products sold to reduce stomach acid. The student participants worked in groups to determine the most effective commercial neutralizing agent in 3-4 commercial products, based on evidence including both effectiveness and cost.

After the workshop, students met with Chemistry/Physics Department Chair Dr. Robert Magruder and College of Sciences and Mathematics Dean Dr. Thom Spence for a lab tour. One of the teachers noted that her students found the event to be a “fantastic field trip experience.”

“This workshop directed towards AP Chemistry students was developed in response to requests from several teachers who attended my ‘It’s Easy Being Green’ workshop series for middle and high school physical science and chemistry teachers,” Garrett said. “In my outreach work, I strive to develop and implement labs that are not only interesting for students, but serve to enhance their skills – whether that be trying a new lab technique, working with equipment they have not used before or expanding their critical thinking skills by challenging them to make connections. These were great groups of students – very hardworking, motivated and not afraid to ask questions.  I’m looking forward to making this an annual event for AP Chemistry students.”