Boiler Operator Lab Practical


Image of boiler workers from the SSHSA Archives.

CHEMISTRY – You are a steamship boiler operator. Boiler water must be regularly tested to ensure it is in proper working order. Your task is to test the condition of the boiler water by performing chemical tests with samples of boiler water. You will then write a report about the condition of the boiler water and recommend to the chief engineer the steps that must be taken to keep your boiler in working order. A successful report will include experimental data and results, and an argument supported by the data and scientific and historical documents.


Whole plate tintype, which appears to be a period enlargement made from a carte de visite of the Sultana taken at Helena, AR, on April 26, 1865, a day before she was destroyed. The view captures a large crowd of paroled Union prisoners packed tightly together on the steamboat’s decks. Image by Thomas W. Bankes, Cowan’s Auctions.

 

Download the pdf of this lesson: Steamship Boiler Worker – Solution Lab Practical based on a Merchant Marine Boiler Operator Handbook from the SSHSA Archives.

Download the Boiler Operator in History.

**Christopher Koutros of Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Massachusetts wrote this lesson in conjunction with a Professional Development workshop for the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers. Click here to learn more about Professional Development workshops from SSHSA. 

Additional Resources

Additional primary source material related to chemistry from the SSHSA Archives: Chemistry primary sources.

Education Standards

NGSS HS-PS1-5. Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.

Chemistry teachers doing a solution chemistry lab based on a Merchant Marine manual from the SSHSA Archives.

Massachusetts HS-PS1-9(MA). Relate the strength of an aqueous acidic or basic solution to the extent of an acid or base reacting with water as measured by the hydronium ion concentration (pH) of the solution. Make arguments about the relative strengths of two acids or bases with similar structure and composition.

Massachusetts HS-PS2-7(MA). Construct a model to explain how ions dissolve in polar solvents (particularly water). Analyze and compare solubility and conductivity data to determine the extent to which different ionic species dissolve.

Rhode Island PS1 (9-11)–1. Students demonstrate an understanding of characteristic properties of matter by utilizing appropriate data (related to chemical and physical properties), to distinguish one substance from another or identify an unknown substance.

NGSS cross-cutting concept 1: Patterns

NGSS cross-cutting concept 3: Scale, proportion, and quantity

NGSS Science Practice 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

NGSS Science Practice 4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data

NGSS Science Practice 7 Engaging in Argument from Evidence

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