Lancer Spotlight 9/1/2021: AP Chemistry gets creative with their first lab Post-Covid

Junior+Chloe+Trevino+measures+the+meniscus+by+looking+at+it+from+eye+level.+

Junior Chloe Trevino measures the meniscus by looking at it from eye level.

by Caroline Hobson, Editor in Chief

Caroline Hobson broke her first test tube during a chemistry lab–it’s all the process of learning in AP Chemistry.

On August 26 and 27, Mrs. Durann Ecalano’s AP Chemistry class conducted their first lab to reflect the challenging topics they are learning in class. 

The purpose of this lab was to conduct a reaction between a solution of copper chloride and solid aluminum, while also dehydrating and rehydrating copper chloride to find the molecular weight of each individual element involved. 

Senior Emily Lotito ignites her Bunsen burner with a striker.

There were many different tools involved in making this lab successful. The class was able to experience a hands-on reaction involving Bunsen burners, Vacuum Filtration systems, drying ovens, hydrochloric acid, and using the hood to let their experiments work overnight.

There was a lot of excitement surrounding this lab in particular because it was the first lab that students got to participate in post Covid. Mrs. Ecalano was even excited for students to have that hands-on experience once again. 

“Doing labs in person is one of my favorite parts about teaching Chemistry,” said Ecalano.

Being able to walk step by step through a lab allows students to learn and challenge themselves in ways that they cannot do from just reading and taking notes. It allows students to see what is going on and how (for example) the mass of Copper is altered after dehydrating the compound. 

“AP Chemistry is supposed to be fun and involving; however, last school year it was a challenge to create labs. The students last year were able to watch live demonstrations of the lab, as well as pre recorded videos, but that isn’t the same thing as doing the lab in person,” said Ecalano.

“I thought the lab was very interesting and unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I had never used a Bunsen burner,  a 2 way filtration system, or a drying oven. Seeing the copper progress through each step allowed me to better understand what was going on in the lab instructions as well as have a lot of fun in class,” said Senior Emily Lotito. 

While AP Chemistry only has seven students in total, their astounding performance in labs makes up for the small number of classmates. Each one of the students’ lab was a success, and had no errors in data collection, lab etiquette, safety, or following the detailed process.