17 BCCE AP Chemistry Symposium

Organizer: Harvey Gendreau

Framingham High School

508/620-4963 x269

Framingham, MA 01701


Below is a draft list of the papers/abstracts submitted for the 17th BCCE AP Chemistry Symposium. The order listed here is not necessarily the order the papers will be presented.

AP Chemistry Test Development Committee: The Test Development Process

Mr. Tom Corley
Educational Testing Service
Mail Stop 66-N
Rosedale Road
Princeton, NJ 08541

Co-Author Information

Brown, Carol
Saint Mary's Hall
San Antonio, TX 78217

Gelder, John
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078

Macklin, John
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195

Spencer, James
Franklin & Marshall College
Lancaster, PA 17604

Abstract: The AP Chemistry Development Committee is a group of three college faculty who teach general chemistry and three high school AP Chemistry teachers. Appointed by the College Board, the committee members are assisted by the Chief Faculty Consultant, a college chemistry professor who oversees the grading of the AP Chemistry examination, and two science assessment specialist from Educational Testing Service. This group meets semiannually to review and revise the AP Chemistry Course Description booklet and to develop the AP Chemistry Examination (last year administered to over 56,000 high school students). The work of the Committee includes the review of student performance on the exam, the discussion of exam structure, and the writing and review of exam questions. The Panel will include current AP Chemistry Committee members, who will present a brief introduction to the following aspects of the Committee: development and pre-testing of questions, statistical analysis of exam questions, curriculum surveys and content specifications, development of scoring standards, the annual setting of AP grades after exams are scored, and measures of validity such as college comparability studies. Time will be provided for questions and answers, and to discuss suggestions from audience members.

Acid-Base Review Ideas for AP Chemistry

Kitzmann, Kathy
Mercy High School
12874 Norborne
Redford, MI 48239

Abstract: After studying acid-base equilibria, strong and weak acids, pH, buffers, etc., students are given a summary sheet and a mixed set of review problems to assist them in learning how to work a variety of acid-base problems.

Great AP Demos

Bridges, Bette
Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School
20 Mountain St.
Sharon, MA 02067-2233

Abstract: Exciting demos which show principles taught in AP chemistry. Help your students learn and understand by the use of demonstrations and the discussions which they initiate.

Introduction to Buffer Solutions-A Demonstration

Bugay, Dave
Kilgore College
1100 Broadway
Kilgore, TX 75662 USA

Abstract:This demonstration was shown to me about 20 years ago by Dr. Hubert Alyea. I have been using it ever since to start off the section on buffers. The demonstration shows how both buffered and unbuffered solutions are affected by the addition of acids and bases. The students are then asked to define a buffer solution in their own words after having viewed the demonstration. Representative student responses are shared with the whole class.

A Microscale Buffer Experiment for AP Chemistry

Dr. Zipp, Arden
SUNY College at Cortland
Cortland, NY 13045

Abstract: This paper will discuss a microscale experiment designed to illustrate three aspects of buffer behavior; (a) the relative buffering capacity of strong and weak acids and their salts, (b) the effects of the acid/salt ratio on the solution pH, (c) the influence of the buffer concentration on a solution's pH and buffering capacity. The experiment can be carried out relatively quickly in a well plate with less than 5 mL of solution.

A Buffer Demo and a Kinetics Demo for AP Chemistry

Kitzmann, Kathy
Mercy High School
12874 Norborne
Redford, MI 48239

Abstract:A simple demonstration will be presented that illustrates the effectiveness of a buffer at maintaining pH. A second demonstration (which could be a lab activity instead) will illustrate reaction order and dependence of reaction rate on concentration.

At What Rate Do You Cover Kinetics?
Mr. Kliza, Dennis
St. Mark's School
25 Marlborough Road
Southborough, MA 01772

Abstract: This twenty five minute AP Chemistry presentation will provide information on how to cover the topic of chemical kinetics in one week. A handout will be provided featuring daily organization, a demonstration, topic coverage, problem solving techniques, and my favorite laboratory and test questions.

Reaction Mechanisms - An Inquiry-Based/Discovery Method

Armstrong, Richard
Madison Area Technical College
3550 Anderson St.
Madison, WI 53704

Abstract: This presentation will describe an inquiry-based/discovery activity on reaction mechanisms. When I started using the inquiry -based/discovery method in my chemistry courses, I first designed activities on topics that I seldom felt successful in teaching. One such topic was reaction mechanisms. No matter how great my lecture, no matter how much I did for the students, the success rate in understanding reaction mechanisms was poor, at best, for most of my students. Inquiry-based/discovery methods fully engage the student in the learning process and puts the responsibility for learning on the student. Since I began using this activity on reaction mechanisms, the success rate has increased dramatically.

Laboratory/Inquiry Approach to Teach Kinetics in AP Chemistry

Prof Crum, William
Naval Academy Prep School
NETC Nimitz 2127
Newport, RI 02840
401/841-3488 x148

Abstract: A variety of laboratory activities can be employed to help the students to think and inquire about the factors that affect the rates of chemical reactions. After gaining the insight into some factors, students then explore how the rates of reactions are measured in a laboratory setting. Through laboratory activity and data collection, students discuss, analyze and graph data to discover the relationships between concentrations and time for rates of reactions.

A Fail-Safe Kinetics Lab for AP Chemistry

Mr. Gendreau, Harvey
Framingham High School
115 A Street
Framingham, MA 01701-4195

Abstract: I have tried all kinds of kinetics labs for my Advanced Placement Chemistry classes in an attempt to determine experimentally the order of a reaction. These include iodine clock reactions (both macro and micro), thiosulfate ion and acid, hydrogen peroxide decomposition, and crystal violet decolorization using a Spec20. None have given us any reliable and consistent results for the order of a reaction and its activation energy. [Kinetics labs on a PC seem to lack a lot of 'flavor' that a wet-chemistry lab gives a student. Many results come out 'too perfect'.] This lab involves the hydrolysis of t-butyl bromide (2-bromo-2-methylpropane) in a 50/50 iso-propanol/water solvent medium and the consequential titration of the HBr product with hydroxide over time. The materials are few, minimal set-up and equipment, moderate to low costs, simple data collection, and straight forward calculations. Students can easily determine the reaction order, rate constants at two different temperatures, and the activation energy. A video tape presentation will show how easily this lab can be conducted (2 trials) in a 90 minute lab session. All attendees will receive a hand out of the procedures, sample data, calculations, and materials list.

1812 Overture Kinetics

Mr. Escudero, Edmund J.
Summit Country Day School
2161 Grandin Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45208-3300
513-533-5404 x296

Abstract: Students study the kinetics of the iodine/starch clock reaction. After determining the order of the reaction, the effect of concentration and the effect of temperature on the rate of the reaction, the students are given a time in seconds. They are to calculate the proper proportion of reactants so that upon mixing of the solutions the color changes on cue. The class then mixes the solutions as the conclusion of the 1812 Overture plays in that background. Each canon shot should be accompanied with a solution turning color. The exercise is challenging and enjoyable. All pertinent information will be available. A practice run set to the 1812 Overture will be attempted.

Entropy Is Simple -- If You Discard "Disorder"
Dr. Lambert, Frank
Occidental College
2834 Lewis Drive
La Verne, CA 91750

Abstract: "Entropy is a measure of disorder" is as misleading in teaching entropy in 2002 as "phlogiston" was in teaching about oxidation in 1802. "Disorder" is anthropomorphic, fallible and non-scientific. Fortunately, "disorder" can be readily replaced by a superior description of entropy that is both simple and fundamentally based on energy relationships. Energy, as in the well-known vigorous motion of molecules, spontaneously spreads out -- from being confined to becoming dispersed. Entropy is simply the measure of how much energy has been dispersed in a substance or a process. When a solid is warmed, the energy transferred to the solid makes it melt to become a liquid NOT because dramatic sketches can be drawn of helter-skelter molecules. This is not the physical cause of entropy increase. Entropy increases because energy from the warm surroundings can be more spread out in the different rotations and more varied translation of the molecules in a liquid than in a solid. If energy becomes more dispersed in any way in any system, the entropy of that system increases. How this scientific description simplifies understanding entropy in the examples presented in AP chemistry will be described in detail.

Predicting products in chemical reactions

Ms. Gibb, Reen
Brookline High School
55 Main st.
Dover, MA 02030

abstract: Predicting the products for chemical reactions is an area in which students traditionally have a lot of difficulty. This presentation discusses ways to help students learn this material more successfully. The discussion is geared to intructors of Advance Placement Chemistry students.

Net Ionics and the AP Exam

Ms. Mouakad, Adele
St. John's School Urb. San Ignacio
1714 San Etanislao St.
San Juan, PR 00927


DeWane, Marian

Abstract: Net ionics is one of the areas that students have major difficulty with on the AP Chemistry Exam. This paper will show you a series of laboratory activities that can be carried out to help the students predict the results of a chemical reaction. The authors will also show you pitfalls to be avoided and how to ensure that your students are able to write the net ionics correctly.