L ABORATORY work has special importance in the learning of science as scientific principles develop and grow on the basis of laboratory work. Chemistry is an experimental science; the concepts learned in the theory classes are better understood through experimentation. Laboratory work provides an opportunity to observe many of the chemical phenomena under controlled laboratory conditions and workout a problem through the method of inquiry. In other words, it provides you with ample opportunity to become a keen observer and to draw inferences and explain results. The training in laboratory work helps to develop skills for handling apparatus and equipment and carry out experiments. In this way, the experimental work helps to promote scientific temper and adopt a cooperative attitude. Working in the laboratory provides a platform for trying novel and creative ideas and giving them concrete shape. Before you become familiar with the scientific procedures and experimental skills and start working in the laboratory, you should be well acquainted with the chemistry laboratory. You should notice the facilities provided in the laboratory and on your working table. You will notice that your table is provided with a water-tap, gas-tap, Bunsen burner spirit lamp/kerosene lamp, a reagent shelf and a bin for disposing waste material. You will find that some reagents are kept on the shelf fixed on the table while some reagents are kept on the shelf fixed on sidewalls. Reagents kept on the shelf of the table are frequently required while those on the shelf fixed on walls are less commonly used. Besides the facilities on the table, you will see that there are exhaust fans fitted on the upper portion of the wall opposite to the doors and windows and are placed close to the level of the ceiling. This facilitates the exhaution of harmful fumes and circulation of fresh air in the laboratory. For this purpose, there are also enough number of windows in the laboratory. Keep these open while working. A fume cupboard is provided in the laboratory for performing those experiments in which fumes are produced. It is strongly advised that you should become fully familiar with your chemistry laboratory, laboratory practices and procedures, and more importantly the precautions to be taken while working in the laboratory. The environment in the chemistry laboratory is somewhat special in the sense that it can be a place of joy, discovery and learning. It can also become a place of frustration and danger. Frustration – if you come unprepared and neglect recording the important data properly, and danger – if you do not follow the precautions properly in conducting the experiments where potential danger exists.
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