How to do a Deadly EEI in Chemistry
Students: These are some hints about the requirements of a high quality Extended Experimental Investigation for the Queensland Senior Chemistry Syllabus. Guidelines given to you by your teacher should take precedence if there is any doubt. They are addressing a Year 12 EEI but will still guide you for Year 11. They refer to a hypothesis-testing EEI. What’s the purpose of an EEI? You‟ll do an EEI to research a question you have about some chemistry-related phenomena you have come across. In the process you gain a better understanding of the concepts. It does not matter that your experiment has been done a thousand times before or that your teacher already knows the results. What matters is that you don't know the results and that you can work independently to find a verifiable answer. Should I work in a group or by myself? The decision about working individually or in a group should be given careful consideration. In the real world, scientists work collaboratively across the full range of activities associated with a research task. Not all aspects of an EEI lend themselves to group work and while it is appropriate for you to work in a team to develop ideas and collect data your final report must show clear evidence of individual research, planning and analysis that uniquely reflects your understanding of and conclusions related to the research question. Conducting an EEI as an individual avoids some of the issues mentioned above but you still have the opportunity to discuss aspects of your EEI with other students who are working on a similar research question and collaborate in the collection of data. What are some tips for successful group work? Here are the best nine: Work in a team, be inclusive Establish each person‟s role by negotiation and make use of other people‟s strengths Monitor and redefine timelines to suit progress Participate in activities: be active and show consistent behaviour in group activities Show interest when others are speaking and be an attentive listener Participate in discussions: be active and maintain focus when group decision making is occuring Welcome different justified opinions as valid and incorporate these views; be inclusive Encourage participation of all and be sensitive to others‟ needs Show leadership in developing consensus and resolving conflicts. How do I find a research focus (topic) for my EEI? If you are in Year 11, you are most likely to be given an EEI topic by your teacher or are told to choose from a list of maybe half-a-dozen. This helps your teacher concentrate on experimental design, measurement and management skills. In Year 12 however, you are more likely to be given a freer choice of the topic either within a specific context you may be currently studying, or outside of this. If you do have a free choice then wise choice of a topic can make or break your EEI. There are several ways to decide: 1. As you progress through your course of study identify concepts/ideas/applications that might be useful as a research focus for an EEI. That is, you should keep in mind some investigation you liked or wanted to know more about. 1
2. You could select from a list of ideas: have a look at seniorphysics.com/chem Or Google “chemistry science fair projects” and you‟ll see a lot. Most are not suitable for an EEI as they are just standard experiments, but they may give you ideas. 3. It might be possible to introduce a degree of complexity to a simple investigation that you have encountered in class time. For example, you may have measured the heat of combustion of ethanol and then turn this into an EEI by aiming to investigate the Hs of ethanol-water blends. 4. Lastly, you could have a „brainstorming session‟. Get together with a group of other students and think up as many ideas as you can. Think creatively. Don‟t comment on each of the ideas that come up. Do not criticise the ideas of others. Some ideas may seem silly or...
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