P727: Development of a stereochemistry concept inventory

Author: Alexey Leontyev, University of Northern Colorado, USA

Co-Author: Richard M. Hyslop, University of Northern Colorado, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 11:10 AM11:30 AM

Room: MAK BLL 126

Related Symposium: S53

Stereochemistry is one of the most difficult and fundamental concepts of organic chemistry. Failure to master stereochemical concepts can be a serious impediment to success in organic chemistry courses. Multiple studies report the development of instructional strategies to facilitate student understanding of stereochemistry concepts, but few provide any evidence of student conceptual change as a result of these interventions. In 2012, the National Research Council established a critical need for the development of new tools for conceptual assessment. The purpose of this mixed methods exploratory study is to develop a concept inventory to assess students’ knowledge of stereochemical concepts. A survey was administered to organic chemistry instructors to determine which concepts are considered the most important. Concept mapping techniques were used to define a set of concepts to be tested by the Stereochemistry Concept Inventory. A set of 30 multiple-choice questions was created to address these concepts. Distractors for these questions are based on students’ incorrect ideas identified from the literature, cognitive interviews, open-response questions, as well as experience of instructors. The response patterns and quality of the questions were investigated by means of the classical test theory and item response theory. Think-aloud interviews were conducted to address response process validity of the instrument. The results from these studies will be presented.

P455: Meta analysis of the effectiveness of concept mapping for chemistry instruction

Author: Alexey Leontyev, University of Northern Colorado, USA

Co-Author: Steven Pulos, University of Northern Colorado, USA

Date: 8/5/14

Time: 10:15 AM10:35 AM

Room: MAK A1151

Related Symposium: S38

Concepts maps are widely used as learning and assessment tools in chemistry instruction. Multiple studies investigated the effectiveness of concept maps compared to traditional instruction. However, the findings reported in these studies are lacking in agreement about the presence and magnitude of a positive impact of concept maps on learning outcomes. Many of the reported studies are also underpowered due to the small sample size. As the meta-analysis aggregates results across studies more precise estimates of the strength of the effect of concept maps can be obtained. A meta analysis was conducted in order to synthesize the outcomes of multiple studies in which students learned by constructing or using existing concept maps. The presentation will discuss a strategy of literature search, choice of common metric, extraction of the effect sizes, aggregation of the findings, and the effects of different moderator variables. Potential teaching and research implications will also be addressed.

P322: Geometry in chemistry: Learning sequences for incorporation into undergraduate chemistry courses

Author: Dmitry Baranov, University of Colorado - Boulder, USA

Co-Author: Alexey Leontyev, University of Northern Colorado, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 2:45 PM3:05 PM

Room: MAK A1165

Related Symposium: S26

Coverage of molecular and solid state structures in two- and three- dimensions is ubiquitous in traditional chemistry curricula. It starts with atomic packing and hybridization in general chemistry, continues as conformational analysis and stereochemistry in organic chemistry, and reappears in upper division courses under the guise of normal mode analysis, group theory, and transition metal complex structures. Arguably, basic geometry skills enrich students’ spatial abilities and facilitate understanding of these topics. Spatial abilities are often considered as a success factor not only in chemistry, but across STEM majors. This suggests that the development of a series of exercises aimed at practicing geometry in the context of chemistry is an important task. This presentation introduces two learning sequences at the intersection of chemistry and geometry. Each sequence consists of several conceptually related problems aimed at exploring the relationships between ideas of chemistry, geometry, and mathematics. The aim of the first sequence is evaluation of distances between hydrogens attached to adjacent carbons in eclipsed and staggered conformations of ethane molecules. The second sequence includes estimation of the volume of a fullerene molecule and the density of a fullerite solid. Problems within each sequence require calculations of the dimensions of various molecules and conic solids based on these molecules. Besides providing a connection between chemistry and geometry, these sequences highlight the reductionist’s approach to complex problems and illustrate order-of-magnitude estimates on the submicroscopic level.