P285: Implementing the CASPiE course-based research experience at the United States Military Academy: Initial findings of critical thinking gains, experimental design abilities and affective responses

Author: Anthony Chase and Hailey Clancy, Purdue University, USA; United States Military Academy, USA

Co-Author: Gabriela Weaver, Purdue University, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 2:45 PM3:05 PM

Room: MAK B1100

Related Symposium: S19

The Center for Authentic Science Practices in Education (CASPiE) pioneered a course-based research experience approach to teaching chemistry laboratory courses. The method had been studied in a variety of settings in the past. Recently, the United States Military Academy at West Point decided to develop CASPiE-style modules for the introductory honors course. This setting presents a number of excellent research possibilities that have not been present in the past, including clean experimental-control comparisons and a group of faculty who were completely new to the method. In their careers, cadets are charged with determining the trajectory of their eventual career as army officers relatively early (the outset of their second year). Equipping them with authentic research experiences is crucial in assuring that they are well informed for the possibility of pursuing a career in the chemical sciences. In the new CASPiE-based experience cadets are given the opportunity to select from one of three different modules (analytical chemistry, toxicology, and chemical engineering) in which to participate during the course. All three modules represent subsections of an overall army waste-to-energy research project. Cadets generate unique hypotheses, real data, and research posters towards the advancement of the project. Posters are then presented in a session that includes an audience of their military superiors, project stakeholders, and course instructors. In this study, we present our initial findings on data collected to measure their critical thinking gains, experimental design abilities and affective responses.

P251: Implementing an inquiry-based multistep synthesis in an organic chemistry laboratory course

Author: Eileen M. Kowalski, US Military Academy, USA

Co-Author: Anthony Chase, Purdue University, USA; Richard L. Comitz, US Military Academy, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: LMH 176

Related Symposium: S3

Students enrolled in Organic Chemistry II worked in pairs to conduct a four-step synthesis of a sulfa drug during seven two-hour lab periods. Specific objectives were the following: 1) Develop students’ competence in reading scientific literature; 2) increase students’ ability to maintain and value a detailed laboratory notebook; 3) illustrate challenges introduced by a multistep synthesis that are not present in single step reactions; and 4) demonstrate relevance of protecting groups in organic synthesis. Students were given a general outline of the four steps but then expected to identify specific reaction conditions (quantities, temperatures, time) from provided journal articles. Students discussed their proposed synthesis procedure with a professor before they conducted the lab to ensure that students were on track to complete the synthesis safely in the allocated time. Students used the standard course format to record their progress in their lab notebooks and submitted a formal report summarizing their results. Students’ perception of their progress on research objectives 1-3 was evaluated by a short survey at the end of the semester. Faculty perception of student progress included observations of students’ behavior. For example, observing students keep notes on scrap paper indicated low value for laboratory notebooks. Notebooks and lab reports were scored according to general rubric used for all previous labs. Students’ understanding of protecting groups was assessed on exams before and after the multistep synthesis lab. Summarized findings and lessons learned will be reported in this presentation.