2 Jan 2020

Reaction Mechanisms: Energy Profiles and Catalysts

In-Class Activity

Submitted by Wesley S. Farrell, United States Naval Academy
Course Level: 
Topics Covered: 

This in class activity consists of two demonstrations to be performed by the instructor, followed by a worksheet that students may work on independently or in groups.  The demonstrations allow the students to determine when a reaction has occured, when it has not occured, and generate qualitative reaction energy profiles to match these observations.  This activity is designed to take place during a description of kinetics in general chemistry. Detailed descriptions of the procedure and activity may be found in the "Overview for Instructor."

Microsoft Office document icon Worksheet26.5 KB
Learning Goals: 

Students should be able to create qualitative reaction energy profiles which match a series of reactions, catalyzed and uncatalyzed.

Equipment needs: 
  • Three 8” test tubes
  • 3% H2O2
  • Small cubes of potato, both raw and cooked
  • 250 mL Erlenmeyer flask
  • Pt spiral (preferably in glass tube with hook for support)
  • Methanol
  • Bunsen burner (with striker)


Implementation Notes: 

Please see the "Overview for Instructor" document for implementation notes.

Time Required: 
15 minutes
Evaluation Methods: 

Students will report answers to the class.  The instructor should use the quality of these responses to gauge understanding.

Evaluation Results: 


Creative Commons License: 
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