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Fractional Distillation and Everyday Hydrocarbons Winter Group Project: Assignment

Final School Solutions Project

Fractional Distillation and Everyday Hydrocarbons – Winter Group Project 

Use online research to investigate a particular hydrocarbon product during the oil refining process, its uses, chemical characteristics, and impacts on the environment.

Energy from the sun is used by plants and other photosynthetic organisms to combine carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen into high-energy molecules. Instead of decaying and decomposing like most organisms when they die, some organisms died in certain conditions appropriate for making fossil fuels. The form this takes is called kerogen, the primary organic component of oil shale. Over time, more and more sediment covered the kerogen, increasing the temperature and pressure above it until it produced crude oil (as well as natural gas). Through this project, your group will explore how the mixture of different hydrocarbons that makes up crude oil or petroleum are distilled and treated in the refinery process. Through this process, we acquire gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, asphalt, and many other products useful to our daily lives.

You will be working in groups of 2-3 to produce a 5-7 minute video describing ONE hydrocarbon product. Your video must include images, substantive research, and citations for both information you’ve researched and any media (images, clips, animations, etc.) that you use. EACH person in the group is responsible for the overall quality and accuracy of the final video. You will also be evaluated on an individual level.

Due Dates
The final video will be due on Monday, February 6th. Individual project components will also be due on the following days:

  • Topics due January 10th/11th (Week 1)
  • Five major research resources due January 17th/18th (Week 2)
  • Self and peer evaluations, and assessment of 2 other student videos due February 7th/8th (Week 5)

You will have class time during the fourth week to make your videos. All research should be done before then.

Project Elements
Your final video must address the following major research questions:

  • What is your particular hydrocarbon used for? How is it produced?
  • How does the chemical structure of your hydrocarbon affect its use(s)?
  • What are some of the environmental concerns with producing this product?

In addition, your video must include the following:

  • The correct chemical formula and 3-D shape of your hydrocarbon.
  • A description of its polarity and how this might affect its behavior and use(s).
  • Which primary Intermolecular Molecular Forces (IMFs) are present and how do the IMFs affect your hydrocarbon’s separation from crude oil during fractional distillation? At which boiling point does this occur?
  • An introduction with background on the source of your hydrocarbon, a main body that addresses the key research questions above, the process of fractional distillation (how does it work?) and a conclusion summarizing your findings.
  • Citations of all media and information in MLA format, as well as a final Works Cited slide in your video.
  • High quality editing, which means transitions are smooth and audio is clear. Music is optional. Not all members need to speak during the video, but all members must contribute equally to the project. (Define roles, don’t just divide the research questions among each member!)

Helpful Resources
Please see the following links for helpful resources to get you started on your research. You will need at least five major research resources, so additional research on your topics beyond these resources below will be necessary.

Assessment and Rubric
You will be assessed on both a group and individual level. The rubric below will be used to assess your project. In addition, you will need to review two other group videos and provide a self-reflection on your learning process during the project. N.B. Individual grade categories are in italics.

Team:                                                                                  Name:


Poor: Has not yet met expectations

0-5 points

Good: Has met expectations

6-8 points

Excellent: Has exceeded expectations

9-10 points


Individual growth

Student does not show growth or evidence of deep self-reflection

Student shows appropriate growth and evidence of self-reflection

Student shows exceptional growth, the result of significant effort on self-identified weaknesses

Individual contribution

Level of effort and contribution is below what would be expected for a high-functioning team member.

Individual initiated and finished tasks for the greater good of the team. Was accountable for work completed outside of team time.

Individual always puts the team’s needs first. Went significantly above and beyond expectations of the team.

Assessment of 2 other videos

Student did not completely address the video assessment questions post-project.

Student adequately addressed the video assessment questions post-project.

Students showed careful effort and thoughtfulness in addressing the video assessment questions.

Team performance

Team falls short of or fails tor each full potential. Not all members are fully maximizing their contribution to create a high-functioning team.

Team worked together effectively and accomplished tasks in a timely manner. Used time well in class and outside of class.

All team members excelled and exceeded expectations. Modeled superb collaboration and mastered best use of team resources.

Research & Resources

Research was minimal with not enough evidence to support conclusions and address research questions.

Research contained enough evidence to demonstrate shallow analysis of information in response to research questions.

Research contained enough evidence to demonstrate deep analysis of information and address all research questions.

Sources & Citations

Missing sources or insufficient sources that are incorrectly formatted

Sufficient sources, most of which are correctly formatted

Sufficient sources with correct MLA formatting

Video content

Video does not address major research questions or meet the majority of additional guidelines

Video partially addresses major research questions and meets some of the additional guidelines

Video addresses major research questions and meets all additional guidelines

Video creativity and quality

Video exhibits minimal editing

Video is well edited and makes good use of media

Video is well edited and creative (i.e. uses a variety of forms of media to engage in an original manner)

Week 1 project elements

Students meet requirements past the deadline

Students meet preliminary deadlines and some requirements

Students meet preliminary deadlines and all requirements

Week 2 project elements

Students meet requirements past the deadline

Students meet preliminary deadlines and some requirements

Students meet preliminary deadlines and all requirements

Total pts (Equal to a lab)

____/100 pts