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Colorimetric Analysis of Iron in Liquid Vitamin Supplements
Catherine Oertel
2003-2004 Fellow

This curriculum unit involves students in colorimetric analysis of liquid vitamin supplements. Phenanthroline is used as a sensitive indicator for iron, and students first establish a calibration curve for the iron-phenanthroline complex. Then they use this calibration curve to determine the concentration of iron in vitamin supplements. These activities were designed for use by high school chemistry students and may be most appropriate for honors or AP classes.

This curriculum unit involves students in analysis of “real world” samples and gives them a role in development of experimental procedures. The lab activities were designed to be safe and feasible for high school students. This unit was written for use with Vernier LabPro hardware and the accompanying LoggerPro software, but it is readily adaptable to use with Spectronic 20 or other spectrophotometers.

The unit was developed by Catherine Oertel, a graduate student in chemistry at Cornell University and Mary Kay Hickey, a chemistry teacher at Dryden High School. The lab was piloted in March 2004 with four sections of honors chemistry students taught by Ms. Hickey and by Tim Kirkpatrick, also at Dryden High School.

Downloadable WORD files:

Teacher's Guide

Student Files:

Part 1: Building a Calibration Curve

Part 2: Determining Iron Concentration



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