A N A L Y T I C A L   C H E M I S T R Y   2 5 6
R O L E - P L A Y I N G   L A B

1998-1999 Academic Year
©Prof. John P. Walters
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN 55057
Introduction to Role-Playing and Laboratory Computing

Defining the Kinds of Role-Playing Responsibilities

Round-Robin Certification of Laboratory Glassware
Production Quality Control Lead Analysis
Statistical/Chemical Evaluation of Lead Data
Semi-Automated Weak Acid Titration
Graphical Analysis of Weak Acid Titration
Designing a Mock Robot Experiment
The Incredible Edible Easter Egg Grass Advertising Dilemma
The Downsizing Dilemma
The Broken Pill Coating Machine Assembly Line Shutdown Dilemma
The Instrument Purchase Payment Release Dilemma


Manager: Teaches all about Laboratory Safety and organization
Chemist: Teaches all about MSDS forms, solution preparation, and disposal
Software: Teaches all how to use LabVIEW to acquire data and do file transfers.
Hardware: Teaches all how to make a cable to connect between balance and computers.


Starting the role-playing laboratory and exploring how the roles can work is a major task, along with communicating the essential steps of lab operation. Following a 45 minute "staff meeting" and "check-in", Manager organizes the Company to accomplish the above tasks before the end of the day. Of special importance is teaching safety and issue of the safety "sign-off". Hardware instructs in soldering cables, and Software explains how to use LabVIEW to read the analytical balance. Chemist explains how to get a MSDS to accompany safe chemical handling and solution preparation. Software also shows how to use the appletalk network and the Analytical Chemistry Server to transfer data and how to avoid launching over the network. The Company members assume teaching liability for good lab practices and explore their future roles together.


Manager does not have to schedule an interview for this session. Instead, s/he submits the MSDS sheet, the "safety sign-off" sheet, and a general progress report (using e-mail) of how things went to Staff, with a copy to Upper Management. The results of the balance calibrations are part of this progress report. Manager may also want to report on Chemist's difficulty or lack thereof both in locating information on waste disposal, and how to handle the labels on the local reagent bottles, and preparing a solution, and how well Hardware tested and used his/her cable for reading the analytical balance. In the event there are three people in the Company, instead of four, then Hardware and Software roles are combined, and Manger will report how she/he balanced out the work load.