Explaining the Mysteries of Common Events: Acid/Base Chemistry

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

This course is designed specifically for English Language Learners interested in further developing their English skills in a challenging college-level academic setting.

What makes a lemon sour, and our coffee bitter? How do giant sinkholes appear? And how did they get that red stain out of your white shirt? Throughout the day, acid/base chemistry drives many events, with a variety of results. In this 2 week course, we will aim to understand the principles behind acid/base chemistry, in order to learn how these common events occur.

This course begins with a brief discussion of the origins of acid/base reactions (how they were originally described), and move into Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry and Lewis acid/base theories. Each discussion topic will be partnered with a "benchtop" chemical reaction(s) in which physical properties may either be observed or demonstrated, followed by a brief written response to improve proficiency in communicating scientific topics. Also, calculations of pH, dissociation constants, and interpretation of common visuals (images, figures, etc...) related to this field will be explored in order to prepare students for upcoming college coursework. Students will also become comfortable with manual and automatic pH equipment, UV-vis spectroscopy (for color change verifications), laboratory glassware (e.g. volumetric pipets and flasks) and safety practices.

By the end of this 2-week course, students will be able to:
- Explain common acid/base events
- Calculate properties of an acid/base system (pH, dissociation constants, etc...)
- Utilize some common laboratory equipment, both glassware and electronic tools, with the proper safety measures
- Develop critical thinking techniques for approaching chemical problems, preparing them for future studies in chemistry or related fields

Simultaneously, through exploration of this topic students will:
- Strengthen their English language skills by focusing on listening, reading, speaking and writing within a chemical context
- Improve their academic writing techniques
- Enhance student ability to work in diverse groups

Prerequisites: Prior general chemistry courses will allow for easier assimilation of course material, but is not required. Algebra is highly recommended.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0801
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

[email protected] for English Language Learners

A select group of non-credit courses in the liberal arts and sciences supplemented with English language learning, two weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For University-bound English language learners completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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