Framing the Chemistry Curriculum

“Framing the Chemistry Curriculum” Project

Read Our Award-Winning Paper and/or Watch the Video
You can learn about our project by reading the paper we published in Great Plains Quarterly. The authors are Mark Griep and Beverly DeVore-Wedding from UNL, Janyce Woodard from Little Priest Tribal College, and Hank Miller from Nebraska Indian Community College. It won the 2017 Frederick C. Luebke Award for Best Paper.
This work was supported in part by an NSF Grant 1348382 titled “Framing the Chemistry Curriculum” that began in 2013. To learn more about the project, you can watch this 3-minute video —
Lab Manual for Connecting Chemistry to the Tribal Community
We invite the chemistry instructors at all tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to use our “Lab Manual for Connecting Chemistry to the Tribal Community: Two Semesters of Chemistry Experiments and Teachings.” It was created for a two-semester General, Organic, and Biochemistry course sequence. Nebraska’s two tribal colleges and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln collaborated to develop connections between the experiments and tribal community topics to help students see the chemistry of everyday life and to find intellectual satisfaction and enjoyment while doing so. 
The labs can be performed by students alone or in pairs and will require about 2.5 hours to complete if the reagents and materials are ready. All labs have background information, community connections, a prayer, lab protocols and procedures, and suggestions for writing the lab report. We invite users to provide feedback on these labs and the community connections. 
First Semester Chemistry Experiments
1. Safety, Equipment, and Measurement
2. Density
3. Chocolate Density
4. Liquid Density
5. Period Table of Videos
6. Water Quality Analysis
Proposal for End of First Semester Project
7. Water Purification
8. Soil Quality Analysis
9. Herbicide Bioassay
10. Plant Pigments: Extraction, Chromatography, & Spectrometry
11. Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions —Hot & Cold Packs
12. Molar Mass of Butane in Lighters
13. First Semester Creative Project and Presentation
Second Semester Chemistry Experiments
14. Acid & Base Indicators
15. Ascorbic Content in Traditional Native Foods
16. Qualitative Tests for Alcohols
17. Qualitative Tests for Aldehydes and Ketones
18. The Effect of Alcohol on Betacyanin Extraction
19. Preparation and Identification of Esters
Proposal for End of Second Semester Project
20. Synthesis of Aspirin and Wintergreen Oil
21. The Science of Soap Making
22. Transesterification of Oils in Native Plants
23. Extraction of Caffeine from Yerba Mate
24. The Effect of Heat on Enzymes Found in Native American Fruits
25. DNA Extraction
26. Second Semester Creative Project and Presentation
About the Electronic Version
Chemistry instructors at tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) are free to use this electronic version and to distribute copies of it to the students participating in the laboratory portion of their courses. Non-TCU chemistry instructors should only use this electronic version to review its content; they do not have permission to use the experiments in their classrooms (but they do have permission to use the print version).
About the Print Version
A print version of this lab manual is sold through at can purchase the print version if they don’t want to use the electronic version or the expense of printing copies of the electronic version. Non-TCUs have permission to use this manual for their laboratories. The royalties from all purchases will be split between Little Priest Tribal College and Nebraska Indian Community College to support student learning activities.
About the associated “Instructor & TA Manual”
An associated manual for Instructors and Teaching Assistants includes information about setting up the experiments, preparing the solutions, and example answers to many of the questions. A copy of the “Instructor & TA Manual” can be obtained by sending an email to Dr. Mark Griep at It will only be sent to instructors who send the following information: your name, your institution’s name, a statement that you are an instructor at that institution, and the name of chemistry course (or how you intend to use it).

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