Hand Warmers Practical Project

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Katie Erickson, Staff Writer

AP Chemistry students worked on a new project this year in which they had to design their own hand warmers, comparing the costs of the chemicals used and figuring out which were most practical.

According to AP Chemistry teacher Rachel Eaton, the students are engaged in the project. “They had to design their own procedure, see which substances made the best hand warmer, and compare costs. They had to look at the toxicity of the chemicals to the environment,” she said.

This is 1 of 20 labs that AP Chemistry does. According to Eaton, it will be heavily graded because it takes a week to do. This project lasted from October 7 to October 14.

According to junior Morgan Matranga, the project was done in groups of 4 and was different from other labs usually done in the class because it can be applied to everyday life. “We tested a bunch of solids to see how much heat was released and then quantified the amount of released heat,” she said.

This is the 1st time the class has worked on this lab due to a revised chemistry course. College Board recommended the hand warmer lab. “They wanted to create a course that covered fewer topics in greater depth. They wanted more inquiry labs with more investigating,” Eaton said.

Matranga thought the project was enjoyable because it used chemistry in a practical way. “It was really fun using AP chemistry concepts and applying them to real life,” she said.

Eaton hopes the lab was both fascinating and built team useful skills.

According to Matranga, it was rewarding seeing the results of their work. “We became a lot more familiar with temperature changes, creating an experiment and we learned that CaCl2 made the best hand warmer,” she said.