Chemical Equilibrium

Chemical Equilibrium
A StarLogo Tool for Chemistry
Team Members
 Rey Martinez
 Janet Penevolpe
 Deborah Haggerton
 Jason Goldberg
(here in spirit)
The Problem
How to teach equilibrium with less
The Problem of Equilibrium
First there must be a reversible reaction
Then the “equal” part is the forward
reaction rate and the reverse reaction
The Problem expanded
Le’ Chatelier’s principle states that a
system in equilibrium that is disturbed will
counteract that disturbance and establish
a new equilibrium.
Literature Research
The concept of equilibrium is well
documented. A plethora of full-text
articles were found in which chemical
equilibrium was of primary focus or in
which Le Chatelier's Principle was an
essential part.
Literature Research
Le Chatelier's Principle states that, if a
closed system at equilibrium is subjected
to change, processes will occur that tend
to counteract that change.
Literature Research
According to Sprague, Trey, Pillay & Khan
(2005), Le Chatelier’s Principle remains to
be the most difficult concept for high
school students to comprehend.
Literature Research
It has been found that students are able
to make observations of chemical
processes at the macroscopic level (e.g.,
color change) but tend not to be able to
explain why these changes occur at the
molecular level.
Literature Research
An elaborate study by Azizoglu, Alkan &
Geban (2006), revealed that high school
students may be confused with the
concepts because their instructors do not
have an adequate understanding.
Literature Research
According to the authors, the two most
misunderstood concepts in chemistry are
Le Chatelier's principle and the ideal gas
Literature Research
Hanson, from St. Olaf College, suggests
the use of playing-cards to explore
statistical aspects of equilibrium (2003)
While others have posted Web pages
featuring conventional definitions, digital
images and practical examples using
common household items.
Literature Research
This finding is alarming.
Consequently, the idea to create a
computer simulation that offers students
an opportunity to understand
unobservable phenomena is the focus of
the project.
Literature Research
To our knowledge, there are no other
agent-based models of Le Chatelier’s
principle in existence.
Questions for programming
How to model the general reaction ?
How do the reactants disappear?
How to get the product to breakdown?
Agent - Agent interactions
Reactant A responds to B
Reactant B responds to A
Product C has no response
Agent - Environment interactions
There are none
Now here’s our model
Experiments to analyze output data
or use as Demonstrations
Can you find equilibrium:
 with only reactants?
 with only products?
 faster with double
reactants or products?
Experiments to analyze output data
or use as Demonstrations
Le Chatelier
What happens to equilibrium when:
Add A or Subtract A?
Add B or Subtract B?
Add C or Subtract C?
Add A & B or Subtract A & B?
Add A & B & C or Subtract all?
Azizoglu N., Alkan M., & Geban O. (2006).
Undergraduate pre-service teachers'
understandings and misconceptions of phase
equilibrium. Journal of Chemical Education,
vol. 83, issue 6, pp. 947-959.
Erickson, F. (1998). Qualitative methods for
science education. In B.J. Fraser & K.G. Tobin
(ed), International Handbook of Science
Education (pp. 1155-1173). Dordretch: Kluwer
Academic Publishers.
Citations continued
Hanson, R.M. (2003). Playing-card
equilibrium. Journal of Chemical
Education. vol.80, issue 11, pg. 1271.
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