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The activity asks students to make observations about what occurs when two effervescent antacid tablets are placed into a beaker of water. The Students work together in groups. There are three parts to the activity. In the first part, the tablets are dropped into tap water and student groups (2-4 students) must complete a series of question sheets (one per group) that guide them through thinking about the event. In the second part, a presentation on chemical equilibrium for the carbonate system is given. The starting point is the answers received in the first part. Basic chemical reactions for the carbonate system are presented including equilibrium expressions for each reaction and discussion about open and closed systems. At the end of class, a handout is given to the students. In the third part, three beakers (acidic, neutral and basic solutions, but not indicated) are placed together and two tablets are placed into each beaker. Students are split into two groups (8-12 students) and are asked to describe why the reactions are different. Discussion follows collection of student responses in each part. Once the chemical reactions and equilibrium expressions are presented, they are involved and referenced in all discussions.
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