Project: Exploring Inorganic Functions: Oxides through Observation and Experimentation



Inorganic Functions: Oxides


Chemistry, also known as the 'central science', links the physical sciences with life sciences. One of its fascinating branches is Inorganic Chemistry, with a broad spectrum of topics. We're going to dive into one such topic, Inorganic Functions: Oxides.

Inorganic oxides are compounds that contain one or more oxygen atoms and one other element. They are classified based on the nature of the other element and the type of bonds they form. Mainly, they can be metallic, nonmetallic, or amphoteric oxides. Metallic oxides tend to be basic, nonmetallic oxides are often acidic, and amphoteric oxides can behave as both, depending on the conditions.

Oxides play a fundamental role in our planet's chemical balance, participating in essential processes, from environmental issues to industrial applications. A common type of oxide, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), is a gas that we produce when we exhale, and plants use it for photosynthesis. However, it is also a prime contributor to global warming when released in excessive amounts. Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) or quartz is another common oxide that forms sand and is used in making glass, concrete, and silicon chips for computers.

By studying oxides, we're not just looking at chemical compounds; we're looking at substances that change the world we live in, sometimes in profound ways.

To help you dive deeper into this topic and explore the wonderful world of oxides, you can make use of these resources:

  1. BBC Bitesize - Oxides
  2. Chem LibreTexts - Reactions of Inorganic Oxides
  3. Khan Academy - Oxidation and Reduction

Remember, every great journey begins with a single step. So let's set off on this adventure into the world of inorganic functions: oxides!

Practical Activity

Activity Title: Oxidation Exploration

Project Objective:

To familiarize yourself with the concept of inorganic functions: oxides by observing their behavior and reactions.

Detailed Description of the Project:

In this group project, your task is to identify and study examples of basic and acidic oxides in our environment. Each group will have to find samples of both types of oxides. You will then perform simple experiments to observe their reactions and understand their characteristics. Finally, you will prepare a report of your findings.

Necessary Materials:

  1. Vinegar (Acetic acid)
  2. Baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate)
  3. Lemon (Citric acid)
  4. Chalk (Calcium Carbonate)
  5. Safety goggles
  6. Gloves
  7. Glass beakers or jars.

Detailed Step-by-step for Carrying Out the Activity:

Step 1: Forming Groups and Introduction Form groups of 3 to 5 students. Each group will be required to submit one report at the end of the project.

Step 2: Sample Collection Select an acidic oxide and a basic oxide for experiment. For instance, you may use vinegar (which contains acetic acid, an acidic oxide) and baking soda (which contains sodium bicarbonate, a basic oxide).

Step 3: Experimenting with Oxides Wear your safety goggles and gloves. Pour a small quantity of vinegar in a beaker or jar. In a separate container, do the same for baking soda.

Step 4: Observing Reactions Slowly add a few drops of vinegar to the baking soda and watch for any reactions. Make careful notes of your observation. Repeat the process, but this time add a few drops of baking soda solution to the vinegar. Again, make careful notes on what you observe.

Step 5: Discussing and Documenting Discuss your observations and find out what these reactions tell you about the nature of the oxides and their reactions. Start preparing your report based on these discussions and observations.

Step 6: Preparing the Report Your report should consolidate your understanding of the topic and document your observations and learning from the experiment.

The report should be in the following format:

  • Introduction: Contextualize the theme of inorganic functions: oxides and discuss its relevance and real-world application. Also, state the objective of the project.

  • Development: Detail the theory behind oxides, explaining their nature and reactions. Describe the activity in detail, the methodology used, and present the observations made and their implications.

  • Conclusions: Conclude the work by summarizing the main points, explicitly stating the learnings obtained, and drawing conclusions based on the observations made.

  • Bibliography: Indicate the sources you relied on to do the project ‚Äď books, web pages, videos, etc.

Expected Duration of the Project:

The project should take approximately 2-4 hours for each participating student to complete and is to be submitted one week from commencement.

Project Deliveries:

The project outcome will be the written report covering all the points mentioned above. The report should comprehensively cover the students' understanding of inorganic functions: oxides, observations from the experiment, inference drawn, and the sources consulted during the project.

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