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ERIC Number: EJ1002938
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
An Inquiry-Based Density Laboratory for Teaching Experimental Error
Prilliman, Stephen G.
Journal of Chemical Education, v89 n10 p1305-1307 Oct 2012
An inquiry-based laboratory exercise is described in which introductory chemistry students measure the density of water five times using either a beaker, a graduated cylinder, or a volumetric pipet. Students are also assigned to use one of two analytical balances, one of which is purposefully miscalibrated by 5%. Each group collects data using only their assigned glassware and balance. After the experiment, the complete classes' data is compiled. The variability in the precision of the glassware and the different calibrations of the balances leads to observations of both random and systematic error in the class data. These data provide a starting point for teaching the types of error commonly encountered in introductory chemistry labs. (Contains 2 tables.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A