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A Super Simple Redox Lab


Redox reactions are the mechanisms behind batteries, silver tarnishing, cars rusting, plants being able to synthesize thier own food, the formation of fossil fuels and our ability to get energy back out of them, our cells getting energy from glucose, and extracting pure metals from metal ores mined from the ground.

This super simple lab developed by Winston Dossetti can be used to introduce students to oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions. Background in the instrucitons includes several examples of redox reactions that we have all experienced.

In this lab, students add potassium ferrocyanide to a solution of copper sulfate and iron sulfate. Potassium has a stronger affinity for electrons that either copper or iron, so: the potassium is reduced and the copper is oxidzed (solution turns brown) the potassium is reduced and the iron is oxidzed (solution turns blue). So students learn that when copper is reduced, it produces a brown color in solution and when iron is reduced, it produces a blue color in solution. Based on these observations, they predict what will happen in 4 additional reations using other combinations of the same chemicals and then use the observations as controls to determine if their predictions were correct.

Includes iron(II) sulfate heptahydrate, potassium ferrocyanide trihydrate, copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate, iron wire, copper wire, dropping bottles, and instructions. Includes materials for 80 lab stations.


   
 

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