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Chemistry LibreTexts

III. Educational Goals and Methods

If successful, the student will be able to:

  • List the components of a spectrophotometer and the order in which light traverses those components.
  • Explain what a diffraction grating does, specifically including the concepts of dispersion and diffraction order.
  • Explain what stray light is and explain how stray light decreases the quality of spectrophotometric measurement.
  • Describe how a quality spectrophotometer would differ from the hand‐made device.

The approach taken is, in essence, POGIL.2 Students are given open‐ended guidance as to how they might build the spectrometer. Typically, after a few minutes, the stimuli from the components cue the students as to what may be interesting or productive. To date, no student has reported an accurate, quantitative measurement. Yet, in discussion, it appears that they understand gratings, stray light, and dispersion more clearly than do students who have only heard of or seen pictures of the instrument components.