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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Solubility

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 2.5 stars
Ease of Use: 3 stars
Reviewed: May 03, 2006 by Chemistry Editorial Board
Overview: The Applet enables users to compose an ionic compund using radio buttons to
select anion and cation. The molecular formula is displayed in the interface
with data relative to the solubility of the ionic compound and its Ksp value.
Solubility charts can be obtained for a selected cation or anion. Functional
buttons may also be selected permitting the display of Ksp values agains a
particular anion or cation.
Learning Goals: This introduces the solubility of ionic compounds in water in terms of
soliubility values (g/L) or the corresponding Ksp.
Target Student Population: Freshman and higher school chemistry can use this.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Solubility rules should be introduced to the student prior to using the
Applet.
Type of Material: This Applet is a Simulation. It then presents numerical and graphical data
relating to the solubility of salts.
Recommended Uses: Applet can be used in freshman chemistry to introduce solubility and solubility
rules of ionic compounds.
Technical Requirements: No special software is needed just permission of the browser to run Java
applets.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The applet is interactive. The solubility values and Ksp values calculated by
the applet are quantitively correct. It is a very quick way to view trends in
solubility with respect to cations and anions.
Concerns: The navigation tabs do not work properly, especially the Cation Ksp and the
anion Ksp do not display at all. Toggling from Anion/Cation/compound tabs
require for you to sometimes refresh your browser for a proper display. Also,
the data is not gridded so it is difficult to see the real values and ranges of
Ksp values and solubilities (It is suspected that the vertical scale is
logarithmic). In addition, the overlapping of data points and faint color
schemes detract markedly from the usability.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 2.5 stars
Strengths: This is an excellent tool to introduce the concept of solubility to students and
can also be used for chemical nomenclature. It is good that students can
reflectively compose their molecules and receive feedbacks relative to the
solubility and Ksp values.
Concerns: The focus is not on conceptual understanding. Also, the absence of grids and the
fine-ness of the size of the data points and I,D,N,U lettering detract from the
sorts of quantitative information that is so much a part of teaching solubility
products in freshman chemistry.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The applet is easy to use for both students and faculty. It loads quickly and
easily.
Concerns: The navigation tabs do not work properly, especially the Cation Ksp and the
anion Ksp not at all. Toggling from Anion/Cation/compound tabs requires you to
sometimes refresh your browser for a proper display. There are NO instructions
on the meaning; the user is left to experiment. A small side box giving
instructions would be very helpful.

Other Issues and Comments: This Applet is easy to use and is an excellent tool for introducing the concept
of solubility to students or introducing chemical nomenclature of ionic
compounds. Be aware that some of the navigation tabs provided do not work
properly. Grid lines should be added abd the data point markers should be larger
to aid in viewing ease. The colors of the data points should be stronger to
help with visualization. The applet should be set up so that moving the cursor
over a given data point will display the numerical data in a pop up associated
with the mouse position. When all points are on the axis, only one color shows
which is a little misleading. Some components have solubilities listed as
unknown. Actually, the solubilities of all of these compounds are known, but
they may be a little difficult to find.