The focus of the manual is on conceptual learning of the chemical phenomena in our lives. The manual employs the learning cycle approach, which is used as the underlying model for the guided and open inquiry/application laboratories. The learning cycle is derived from learning theory, is consistent with the nature of science, and has three sequential phases: 1) exploring/gathering data; 2) discussion/concept invention; 3) expansion/application.
- Takes an inquiry base approach, where students are asked to develop concepts from observed data. This helps to develop conceptual understanding instead of rote memorization.
- Labs are correlated to topics included in all liberal arts texts. Labs include Pre-lab questions, Data report sheets, and post lab questions that focus on key concepts to be learned from the lab experience.
- The learning cycle model follows the procedures employed by actual scientists. From observations, scientists inductively form generalizations (hypotheses). These generalizations are then deductively applied to other specific situations to see if the generalization holds. These labs mimic the scientific process in the lab experience.
- The lab manual contains two types of labs, guided inquiry and application. The goals of the guided inquiry laboratories are to direct the students to collect data on variables without previously studying the concepts and to guide the students to look for patterns in the data, so that students can form their own conceptual learning about the relationship between the variables. The goal of the application/open inquiry laboratories is to allow the students to apply a concept or relationship in a new setting. While application laboratories give more direction, they still require the application of a previously learned concept and allow the students to design some part of their procedures.
- This lab manual can be custom published to include only those labs needed for a specific campus lab course. Individual campuses can also include their unique labs in custom published lab manuals.