Incorporating research-based lab activities into general chemistry at a large university can be challenging, considering the high enrollments and costs typically associated with the courses. Performing sweeping curricular overhauls of the general chemistry laboratory can be difficult, and in some cases discouraged, as many would rather maintain the status quo. This paper describes the development, implementation, and evaluation of a research-based lab that fits into a two-hour general chemistry laboratory period. The new lab involves testing an imprinted polymer for removal of heavy-metal ions in wastewater, and both highlights and adds to the current research of a faculty member. Also discussed are the evaluation results of the first three years of implementation in the honors general chemistry lab section. A lab questionnaire was developed to measure effects on students on seven aspects, including learning gains, attitudes toward chemistry, and level of research interest. Evaluation results suggest positive impacts on attitudes toward chemistry and for seeking further research opportunities. This approach can be used as an initial step toward more sweeping research-based curricular changes at the general chemistry level.
- First-Year Undergraduate/General
- Graduate Education/Research
- Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives
- Inquiry-Based/Discovery Learning
- Undergraduate Research