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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Ideal Gas Law

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Oct 17, 2001 by Chemistry Editorial Board
Overview: This is an excellent simulation for introducing Boyle's Law, Charles' Law, and
the ideal gas law in general chemistry. It guides users into understanding the
relationships of the Ideal Gas Law. Three experiments are included which
enable users to explore the fundamental concepts of Ideal Gas Law and engage
them in inquiry-based exercises (see experiment 3).
Target Student Population: Introductory Chemistry Students
Type of Material: Simulation

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The experiment is well designed to allow the study of the relationships between the three variables of temperature, volume and pressure.
Concerns: The simulation is very good in demonstrating the inter-dependence of temperature, pressure and volume for a given sample of gas. The various graphs correctly indicate the specific relationships between any two of three variables. The constant volume,and the constant temperature experiments give correct data and results. In the third experiment the fourth variable, the quantity of a gas, has not been included. The graphic shows equal amounts of each gas in their respective containers thereby implying equal mass but not necessarily equal number of moles.The third sentence in the description for the third experiment states that the three different gases have different molecular weights and hence have a different temperature and pressure response when the volume is changed. This is incomplete and incorrect. If the number of moles of each gas are the same then the different molecular masses would not make any difference. However if the masses of the samples of each gas are the same then the different molecular masses will make a difference because the number of moles of each will be different. This sentence in the narrative should be corrected and the assumptions clarified. One of the experiments is titled "adiabetic" . The correct spelling "adiabatic" should be used. No instructions for this experiment have given. A brief explanation of what an adiabatic process is and brief instructions should be included in order to allow the student user to benefit from performing this cyber experiment and better understand the ideal behavior of gases

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The ability to perform a number of experiments by varying the values of the variables and the excellent graphical representation of the results are a powerful and valuable learning tool

To get maximum benefit for the student this module would work well if prior to use the student is given specific information on adiabatic processes and additional instructions for using the adiabatic experimental setup. These should be included in the narrative description accompanying the module
Concerns: To get maximum benefit for the student this module would work well if prior to use the student is given specific information on adiabatic processes and additional instructions for using the adiabatic experimental setup. These should be included in the narrative description accompanying the module

There is a lack of information about the purpose and directions for one of the experiments which could be frustrating and result in valuable time lost in trial and error. The reviewer spent a significant amount of time trying to perform the above referenced experiment before the appropriate purpose and procedure was clear.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The temperature, pressure and volume recording devices are easy to operate and well marked. The plotted graphs displaying the data collected in each experiment are clear and understandable. After each experiment the system can be reset easily with no difficulty and a new set of variables can be entered for a new experiment
Concerns: The button with 2 arrows on the left-side of the control panel under the piston is not labeled and is not referenced in any of the experimental instructions. Trial-and-error indicated that it can be used to increase the volume or decrease the pressure in the chamber although it is not clear why there are two arrows on the button. Two of the four experiments worked well but for the "The Ideal Gas Law " the experimental instructions need to be more clear and specific. It took several attempts before the reviewer was able to successfully manipulate the controls for the variables in order to collect meaningful data. Similarly the "Adiabatic" experiment needs additional information