Instructional Freedoms

Effective Implementation of REActivities

As you prepare to teach your organic labs using these materials please keep in mind the following freedoms and constraints relative to effectively using our method:


  • Grading- There are no points attributed to the workbook questions or the post-lab questions. The workbook does not dictate how you grade, or even what you grade. If you are interested in what some instructors choose to do, check out a sample syllabus here.
  • Partner Work- Although REActivities is designed to increase/enhance student-to-student and student-to-instructor engagement, the lab experiments themselves can be done individually by each student or as a pair. This is left up to the instructor’s discretion. Note that the practice time is always performed individually so as to develop the skill but the actual experiment can be done as a pair or individually depending upon time, philosophy or limited resources.
  • Lab Schedule- Although the labs are listed in the Lab Library in no particular order, there are some freedoms to choosing the lab order. When choosing however, please be aware of the following limitations:
    • Double solvent recrystallization is designed to follow the single solvent recrystallization.
    • Column chromatography is designed to follow TLC.
    • Extraction is designed to be late in the semester after TLC and Recrystallization
    • All Reaction REActivities are designed to follow the Technique REActivities (SN1/SN2 REActivity is not considered a Reaction lab and is delivered most often among the techniques lab timed to the lecture).


  • Instructor Engagement- The stop sign icons ensure that instructor engagement is present during the lab time. However, for the most effective instructor environments and proper stop sign use, the instructor should be available to the students and not independently engaged. Some instructors have said that they work harder during the lab REActivity but work smarter outside of the REActivity (ex. less prep/no pre-lab lecture, workbook partner problems assist to frame questions during office hours, coordination of many lab instructors is streamlined and uniform, etc.).
  • Holistic Adoption- Although any REActivity can be adopted independently, the most effective student gains are realized when at a minimum, the techniques labs are adopted as a whole. The rhythm of the REActivities method takes about two to three labs for students to embrace. Once the students find this rhythm, they enjoy it and appreciate understanding the expectations of the lab.
  • Time- The time frame of REActivities is designed for a 3- or 4-hour lab period. However, some labs run a little longer especially if your lab period is 2h 50min. As such, flexibility with regard to finishing the acquisition of lab data the following period relieves this constraint but requires a less rigid timetable for the due dates of graded items such as a lab report or lab proof.

What are REActivities?

The Self Start

Opportunities for Haptic Learning

Coordinating Lab Sections

Contact Information:

Dr. Tina Goudreau Collison

Professor of Chemistry

Rochester Institute of Technology