Honors Analytical Chemistry students conduct in-person lab over Thanksgiving break


Irene Yuan

Nilisha Baid (12) pours out the contents of a volumetric flask into a sink during an experiment as her lab partner, Vaishnavi Murari (12), looks on via Zoom. Six out of the seven students in Honors Analytical Chemistry participated in the Nov. 21 in-person lab.

by Lucy Ge, News Editor

With her hair tied back and safety goggles on, senior Nilisha Baid carefully lets some solution out of the buret and into an Erlenmeyer flask on Nov. 21 as part of an on-campus Honors Analytical Chemistry titration experiment. Her lab partner, Vaishnavi Murari (12), looks at the experiment via Zoom, offering input as needed. 

Six Honors Analytical Chemistry students, taught by upper school chemistry teacher Robbie Korin, headed back onto the upper school campus to conduct their first in-person experiment of the year on Nov. 21, five days after Santa Clara County moved back into the purple tier. While on campus, students kept their masks on and were rapid-tested for COVID-19 before entering the classroom. 

“Just knowing that we got rapid-tested, we were all going to be super safe, wearing masks and staying distant, I wasn’t that concerned,” Nilisha said. “If there are future labs, I would definitely go.”

The six students each conducted an ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) titration to determine water hardness, with lab equipment having been set up beforehand at their individual stations. In addition to masks, students kept on their gloves and were mindful of remaining socially distant. 

“It was definitely a lot of fun to be there with other people and to be able to have a trial and error process,” Hari Bhimaraju (12) said. “It felt a lot more like actual chemistry. You just learn a lot more by doing it in person.”

Korin, who thought that the lab went well, is hoping to schedule a three-hour in-person Honors Analytical Chemistry lab for Dec. 12, but he is still waiting for approval from the upper school administration. He also wants to schedule some in-person labs next year for his two AP Chemistry classes depending on the situation with COVID-19. 

“I think we’ll have a better idea in January whether we’re going to come back [to school] at all or not,” he said. “The more kids there are in a class, the more complicated it becomes to arrange in-person labs.”

Michael Eng (12) holds the top of a buret as he measures the volume of the solution during an on-campus Honors Analytical Chemistry lab on Nov. 21. (Irene Yuan)