27 March 2008

Experimental Failure

Today was quite exhaustive after having class from 8am to 3.45pm....

The day kicks off with a rather dull Bio tutorial. The tutorial paper touches on kidney nephron stuff.
Now we all are more concern bout our AS preparation, so we're not really in the mood to layan Ms G's tutorial paper. I think that she deserves credit for her hardwork, but then again, we're pampered by Ms Chong so we couldnt get used to a new way, heh.

Proceed for another lesson, GP class. We're kinda in a hurry now as we've so many things to discuss yet we've so little time to prepare for it. We managed to discuss something regarding social issues, and we also managed to squeeze out 80 points for different social issues occur locally and globally.

The next lesson is Chemistry practical. We're required to run 2 experiments today. We've to determine the cation and anion of unknown salt solutions, and have to complete both experiments within 30 mins.
Somewhat, the results from one of the experiment is a little surprising as the test results do not really shows what anion/cation is in the solution.

We've been tricked by the special property of Al3+ ion as its strong polarizing power can break the OH- bond of H2O, thus providing H+ ions to react with carbonate CO32- and then form CO2 gas. Usually this reaction occurs when reacted with acids, like HCl for example. We do not expect a metallic cation can undergo the such reaction to release CO2!
In the end, the salt solution is confirmed to contain Al3+, SO42-, & Br- ions..

Lunch break. Thankfully today got enough time to settle for a proper meal as we left sharp at 1230. Though it's only 30 mins break, well at least I've managed to take in a full meal instead of just breads & buns.

It's not surprise to see that many students didn't turn up for the Bio lecture. I cant blame them because I've the same feeling of skipping it too lol. Finally, Ms G teaches the nervous system, but..... I think something is not right with her notes. The 1 hour lecture, is basically running on a rather monotone mood instead of excitements when conducted by Ms Chong.

I know it's not fair to put all the blame on the new lecturer, I can see Ms G did put in a lot of effort to prepare the materials, just that the plain notes aren't easily-digested by the students.
Even with a higher education qualification, that doesn't mean that one will be good in passing down the knowledge.... Teaching experience is the most important!

After the dreaded lecture, our final lesson of the day is Bio practical session with Ms Chong's lecturer, Ms Koo. Talk about generation gap lol.
Ms Koo definitely looks younger than described by Ms Chong, and we can see shadows of Ms Chong's teaching style from Ms Koo. I bet Ms Chong learn most of the style from Ms Koo, heh. Ms Koo is well-informed, aware of the experiment and gave us a briefing what we're suppose to do before carry out the experiment.

Today's experiment, sounds easy but it's not. We've to determine the rate of enzyme reaction in different concentrations. The enzyme is amylase and the substrate is starch, with iodine as the indicator.

Preparing different concentrations of enzymes itself is already quite confusing, most of us spend lots of time to figure out how to prepare it. Before we can start the thing, those solutions are already drained by those who've figured it out earlier.
I managed to pull out something to continue the experiment. It's kinda embarrassing to get stuck while others are doing their sets.

My test result, definitely not the best colour , somewhat you can see gradually fading colour change. I haven't tested the last row when taking this pic, that's the original colour of the iodine solution.

Friend's experiment result. Noticed the darker colour compared to my result.

One of our biggest disadvantage doing practical is that we did not carry out individual experiment until this year, which means we've less than 6 months to prepare for it. We're supposed to do it by ourself since last year but because the then-lecturers do not know much bout the examination criteria, we're allowed to conduct the experiment in group, which is something impossible in our real exam.

These experiments cannot be underestimated as many students who do well in their paper 1 and 2, didnt manage to score a good mark for the subject because of the paper 3, the practical exam.

Thursday is a dreaded day after spending so much time to run those experiments, and it's like rub salt to a wound to have an abysmal lecture going on.... and not to forget the relatively short lunch break!

Life for Pre-U students are not as fun as diploma students, I think my coursemates will agree on this fact!

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