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Currently, around a third of the world’s population is under lockdown, so if you are reading this blog, there is a good chance that this applies to you. If it does, I hope things are going as well as they can. Have a look at my previous blog post on working from home if your school is closed but above all, stay positive. Life may seem hard, but we will get over this. Keep in touch with friends and family and keep those interactions as real as you can.Some schools are using a variety of ways to keep teaching during the lockdown and I know that some are giving the students time to work on their IA while they are at home. If this applies to you, I hope this blog post will give you some ideas to what you can do.

Firstly, your IA is more than likely going to be data based or involve some sort of simulation. You may be able to carry out some theoretical work now and follow this up with some lab work when you get back to school but this will really depend on what your teacher is telling you – don’t necessarily rely on it happening.

So, what sorts of things can you investigate?

Well, you need some data to analyse and a creative mind. Try visiting the Chem Collectives website (http://chemcollective.org/vlabs) to get some ideas. Here, you are also able to run some virtual labs. The software takes a bit of getting used to and you have to practice but you are able to carry out titrations with substances you would not have ordinarily been able to access in school (for example, hydrofluoric acid – HF).

You are able to change certain parameters such as pH and temperature when you carry out the labs. Are you able to see if you could determine the pKa of a weak acid from a titration and see how this is affected by temperature? My idea is deliberately vague, as I can’t give too many ideas away.

Can you use metals and solutions to determine the best reducing agent from those provided?

When carrying out your research, don’t forget the IB data book – it is a wealth of information so please use it! Are you able to use the ionic radius of metal ions to determine the number of ammonia ligands a complex ion may bond to?

Try to approach the IA with an open but creative mind. Keep the labs simple but elegant and I am sure you can come up with some great ideas.