I used to use reaction plates with my chemistry classes for their micro-chemistry experiments, but the reaction plates are difficult to clean and expensive to replace so I designed this quick replacement that can be used for many simple micro-chemistry experiments.
- sheet protector
- computer generated template
All you need to do is put the template inside of the sheet protector. Depending on how neat your students are, you can seal the open end of the sheet protector with clear packing tape or leave it open and ask them to wipe off the solutions in the direction of the closed side.
When using the sheets to observe reactions, I use dropper to place a drop of each solution which form a bead that is easily observed. I use a white piece of paper on which to print the template because the white clearly showed the color change of most solutions that I use with my class. For safety reasons my students are only using fairly dilute solutions, none of which seem to have accumulated on or react with the sheet protector.
I use the first template for comparing single and double replacement reactions, showing how acid base indicators change colors in serial dilutions of hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide, and observing the reactivity of various elements with water and hydrochloric acid. I use the second template for a lab with voltaic cells. The center of the template is the where I have the students place a coffee filter soaked in salt bridge solution.
Cleaning the sheets is very simple, there are no crevices to scrub with a cotton swab, just a simple wipe with a paper towel. To facilitate easier cleaning I only use solutions that can be flushed down the drain and for which paper towels soaked in the solution can be put in the regular trash. I go back to glassware for stronger acid solutions, strong oxidizers, and strong reducers but this reduces time spent cleaning the lab tremendously.
You can design many different templates to serve this purpose, your imagination is the limit!
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