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Limiting Reagent: Student Laboratory Kit

By: Doug De La Matter, Retired Chemistry Teacher, Madawaska Valley D.H.S., Barry’s Bay, ON

With the Limiting Reagent Chemistry Laboratory Kit, students prepare a precipitate from varying ratios of solutions of barium and iodate ions. They measure the barium iodate that forms to determine the limiting reagent.

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Eight buns, eight cheese slices, but only seven hamburger patties—how many cheeseburgers can you make? This lab introduces the concept needed to answer this simple question—limiting reagents in chemical reactions. Students prepare a very visual, dense and fast-settling precipitate from varying ratios of solutions of barium and iodate ions. They measure the height of the insoluble barium iodate that forms in each tube to determine which reagent is in excess and which is the limiting reagent. Simple chemical tests confirm the presence of the ion in excess. Chemistry students can perform this simply as a qualitative lab, or they can use the balanced chemical equation and mole ratio stoichiometry to quantitatively calculate the amount of each reactant used up and the excess number of moles. All necessary chemicals, syringes, stirrers, reusable pipets and test tubes are provided. Kit contains sodium sulfate for the safe disposal of barium compounds. Teacher Notes and reproducible student handouts included.

Complete for 30 students working in pairs.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
MS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
HS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Systems and system models
Scale, proportion, and quantity

Performance Expectations

MS-PS1-2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
MS-PS1-5. Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
HS-PS1-7. Use mathematical representations to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction.