About the Virtual General Chemistry Laboratories

These virtual laboratories were created primarily for use in introductory general chemistry courses (in our case for nursing students), although they would also be appropriate for mainstream general chemistry courses or advanced high school chemistry courses.

Our main goal is to provide students with an opportunity to carry out laboratory experiments that might not otherwise be possible—because of hazards, expense, or time—in a traditional laboratory setting. Thus these experiments are intended to enhance the students' laboratory experience, rather than as a replacement for their conventional hands-on activities. We have created five experiments involving radioactivity, and three involving gas laws.

We have incorporated an inquiry-based approach to learning, where students are encouraged to discover principles, properties, and relationships in realistic simulations. The experiments utilize photographic images of real laboratory equipment, and students are allowed to freely manipulate the objects in the "laboratory."

How to Use the Labs

The experiments should be fairly self-explanatory. Drop-down lists may be present from which to make selections, and number steppers with which to enter values. Objects that can be manipulated by click or by drag-and-drop are evident when the cursor changes from an arrow to a hand as it passes over them.

Each experiment has a lab manual that contains introductory information, the instructions for carrying out the experiment, and procedures and questions for analysis of the results. The lab manuals are in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format, and may be either used online or printed out for reference.

Provided with each experiment is also a worksheet (Microsoft Excel). The worksheet may be static (a table in which to enter data), dynamic (graphs that are generated from the data), or interactive (graphs that change depending on student input). The static type may be used online or printed out for entering data, but the other two must either be used online or saved and opened in Excel in order to utilize the graph functions.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Browser: Internet Explorer 6 or Netscape 7 or higher
    • Frames and Javascript enabled
  • Flash Player 7 or higher
  • Screen resolution: 800x600 or higher

Created by David R. Anderson, Ph.D. and Anthony C. Syme
Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

© 2005, David R. Anderson