Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Bob Clark


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2018


General Chemistry I (CHEM 121) sets the foundation for the chemistry education of Valparaiso students; therefore, it is critical that the CHEM 121 lecture and laboratory courses provide rich learning experiences that are meaningful, focused and both academically and visually engaging. In this project, two new or significantly revised laboratory experiments were incorporated into the curriculum during the Spring 2018 semester for the first time: 1) The Limiting Reagent in Action: Determining the Formula of a Precipitate and 2) The Analysis of Microplastic Pollution in Local Soil. The common goal of both labs were to increase student understanding of challenging general chemistry concepts by enhancing student engagement. In the case of Experiment 1, this was accomplished by improving the visual appeal of the reactions employed; in the case of Experiment 2, this was accomplished by directly connecting course material to study real-world pollution problems facing NW Indiana. Results of this experimentation and its impact on student learning in CHEM 121 are described.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Emily Statza is a senior chemistry major with human biology and psychology minors who hopes to go to a Physician Assistant graduate program after graduation in May. Emily has been working with Dr. Clark as a Peer Learning Assistant in General Chemistry for 3 years and expanded her work with General Chemistry this year via her research project.