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School To University Practicals Made Easy

Recently I rediscovered the RSC Interactive Lab Primer. Developed 5 years ago by RSC Teacher Fellows as part of the Chemistry for our Future project, the site is a goldmine of information regarding practical chemistry, techniques and lab safety. Each of the main sections: working safely, lab techniques, lab apparatus and reference material has information to address the diverse range of experience and skills students bring with them to university by offering a resource to support their transition from school to university chemistry.

We are slowly adding the individual parts of the site to Learn Chemistry, but when you see the site, you'll see what a mammoth task it is! We have started with some of the videos, which can be found here.

My favourite parts are the animations (column chromatography, for example) within the lab techniques which show, along with explanations, how any particular technique works; and the reference material, particularly common conversions as it will hopefully alleviate some of those easy to make conversion errors we’ve all made!

There are also video explanations that talk you through how a technique is carried out (IR spectroscopy) or how to assemble apparatus.

Of course, safety is even more important at university once the transition from school has been made, due to so much more responsibility being placed on the individual. From personal protection equipment being explained to handling glassware safely, so much important information can be found in one place. It’s a wonder we ever survived practical chemistry without it!

Posted by Alexandra Kersting on Feb 6, 2013 1:45 PM Europe/London

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