Lab materials to build voltiac cells

Educator Name: Mary McGlinchey
School Name: Clawson High School


The program goal is to support our chemistry curriculum, specically in the area of electrochemical cells. Five of the Michigan standards pertain to oxidation-reduction reactions and electrochemical cells. Students are suppose to be able to calculate cell voltage using reduction potentials. Currently, we do not have the lab equipment to make it possible for students to have this hands-on experience. In our program, I would like to have the lab materials for students to build their own voltaic cells and measure its voltage using electrodes, solutions, a voltmeter.

Currently, I teach this lesson by providing students with images of cells, batteries, and the voltage they produce. The students are required to calculate voltage by using reference sheets with half cell reactions and voltages. I am convinced that students will have a deeper understanding and a more meaningful learning experience if they actually make their own voltaic cell and measure its voltage during a lab experiment.

Students will be able to have a more tangible experience of how electric current is produced and measured. I also intend to generate interest in the making of batteries, especially since the future of vehicles and altenative energy are so relevant. By allowing students to make their own cells, I hope to advocate future careers in science and technology.

According to the Michigan science teaching standards, students need to be able to calculate voltage produced for oxidation and reduction reactions. This lab equipment would afford students the hands-on experience of making their own voltaic cells and calculating the voltage produced. In addition, I hope to spark an interest in students who might consider a future in science and technology.