Tuesday, 18 June 2013

10:42 – I’ve been working with a woman who’s in charge of AP chemistry for a state distance learning program. I sympathize with her situation. College Board completely changed the lab portion of the AP chemistry curriculum for the 2013 school year, and she’s working madly trying to get something suitable ready to go for an August start. Complicating matters is that she has a very, very small budget. Obviously, “small budget” and “AP chemistry labs” don’t go well together. I told her that we planned to have a full AP Chemistry lab kit available for autumn 2014, but that it would probably be in the $250 range. That’s far, far higher than her per-student budget for this year. So we’re trying to do as much as possible within her limited budget, which isn’t easy.

Among other things, I was checking out the price of electronic balances for her. I was stunned to see the prices on Amazon.com. They had an American Weigh Scales (decent brand) AWS-100 (100 g capacity, 0.01 g resolution) for $10, with free SuperSaver shipping. Even more amazing, they had an AWS Gemini 20 balance for $21. That’s a milligram balance, with 20 g capacity and 0.001 g resolution. For $21. Both items are sold and fulfilled by Amazon, and their selling price is lower than what I’d have to pay if I were ordering them by the case. So I told the AP teacher that she should just buy her balances from Amazon, because I sure couldn’t match let alone beat their price. Oh, and I added a Gemini 20 to my own cart.

When I put together the AP chemistry kit for next year, I’m just going to tell buyers to get their balance on-line. It’s cheaper for them, and I don’t have to deal with warranty hassles and so on. Same deal for the pH meter.