Manuel Pina



Document Type



In addition to content knowledge, critical and independent thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem-solving skills are essential in preparing next generation of successful workforce. Since one of the biggest advantages of STEM disciplines is a “must-have” hands-on laboratory experience, it is intuitive to exploit this learning space to reinforce afore-mentioned skills. In this context, project-based (PBL) or inquiry-based (IBL) laboratory experiences are rapidly becoming mainstream pedagogical choice for many STEM instructors across United States.[1-4] PBL, and IBL are learning experiences that offer students an opportunity to experience realistic scientific process of discovery through carefully designed inquiry-driven and/or open-ended investigative laboratory experiences.[1-4] PBL and IBL learning experiences also provide instructors with an opportunity to create projects that are related to real-world problems.[1-4] In this context, the work described in this thesis sought to adapt and redesign a semester long project on phytoremediation of copper from soil, published in the Journal of Chemical Education [5], into a collection of mini-projects to be done by students over a period of 3 – 4 weeks. Specifically, work presented herein focuses on general chemistry (CHEM 142L) students exploring the effects of mass, pH and temperature of a commercially available garden soil on its adsorption capability of copper ions and understanding these effects in terms of equilibrium processes and thermodynamics of adsorption processes. The motivation for this work stems from the fact that the Chemistry Department at BSU is currently redesigning its second semester of general chemistry laboratory (CHEM 142L) curriculum with an environmental science focus.


Chemical Sciences

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Saritha Nellutla, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Steven Haefner, Committee Member

Dr. Cielito D. King, Committee Member

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.