Expansion of AP Chemistry Lab Expands Possibilities

September 16, 2014


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Students in Ms. Rosalyn Croce’s Advanced Placement Chemistry class were busy with beakers, pipettes, burettes, and pH probes on a recent Friday afternoon, working to standardize sodium-hydroxide concentrations to use in acid-base neutralization procedures. Thanks to the recent expansion of the AP Chemistry Lab, they had ample room – nearly three times the previous space – in which to conduct their experiment. The dedicated space, located in the McCaughan Science Center, allows more students to take the class and to undertake extended labs in which processes require time to develop.

“Now students can leave their labs set up and come in during their free periods to get projects done,” Croce said. “The College Board requires a separate lab for AP Chemistry, a class in which one-quarter of the time is devoted to lab work.”

The lab expansion includes a new fume hood plus space for students to refer to their books or procedure sheets and revise their calculations before returning to the hands-on lab work. With the College Board requirement that students perform self-directed, inquiry-based labs – which they create and run from start to finish – the extra space is needed to permit the operation of many different procedures undertaken at the same time.

Croce sees great value in exposing students to diverse lab experiences. She and fellow chemistry instructor, Mrs. Analice Sowell, keep up with college lab trends so they can familiarize students with procedures they will encounter after graduation.

“We want to provide students with a well-rounded science experience so they can excel in college and take advantage of research internships,” Croce said.

The expanded AP Chemistry Lab rounds out the school’s laboratory space, which includes a new Robotics Lab opened this fall, plus facilities for biology and molecular biology, physics, environmental science, and chemistry.

Sowell, who serves as chair of the Science Department, said long-term plans call for the creation of additional dedicated lab space for AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, and Honors Accelerated Materials Science.

“Teachers from other high schools and even colleges marvel at the equipment, facilities, and offerings we provide our students,” Sowell said. “But we are always working to stay on the cutting edge of science education. Just as science is always advancing, so are we.”

For more photos from the lab, click HERE.




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