P898: Chemistry concepts and climate science context: Teaching and learning both through Visualizing the Chemistry of Climate Change (VC3Chem)

Author: Lallie C. McKenzie, Chem11, LLC, USA

Co-Author: Peter Mahaffy, King's University College, Canada; Marcy Towns and Ashley Versprille, Purdue University, USA; Mary Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society, USA; Brian Martin, King's University College, Canada

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 3:40 PM4:00 PM

Room: MAK A1117

Related Symposium: S65

Global climate change is an important environmental challenge facing humanity, and many important underlying concepts of climate science rely on models built on a fundamental understanding of chemistry. Although this real-world context rarely is integrated into traditional chemistry courses for science majors, we demonstrate that connections to climate science and global climate change can be incorporated easily into undergraduate chemistry curricula and can improve learning of both chemistry and climate science concepts. The NSF-funded Visualizing the Chemistry of Climate Change (VC3Chem) project developed, piloted and will be releasing publicly a set of interactive web-based resources that specifically connect and teach four core general chemistry concepts through the rich context of climate science. The hands-on digital learning objects at www.vc3chem.com enable students to learn about isotopes and their relevance in determining historical temperature records; IR absorption by greenhouse gases; acid/base chemistry and the impacts of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels on the pH of and carbon speciation in oceans; and how thermochemistry and the combustion of fuels influence the earth’s radiation balance. The efficacy of the tools and the approach has been assessed through measuring changes in students’ understanding about both climate change and core chemistry concepts.

P687: Visualizing the Chemistry of Climate Change (VC3Chem): Online modules and visualizations for teaching and learning chemistry through the context of climate science

Author: Ashley Versprille, Purdue University, USA

Co-Author: Lallie McKenzie, Chem11, LLC, USAPeter Mahaffy, King's University CollegeMarcy Towns, Purdue UniversityBrian Martin, King's University CollegeMary Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 10:35 AM10:55 AM

Room: LTT 102

Related Symposium: S17

Global climate change is one of the most pressing environmental challenges facing humanity. Many of the important climate change concepts require mental models that are built on a fundamental understanding of chemistry, yet connections to these concepts are largely missing from undergraduate chemistry courses for science majors. In the NSF-funded Visualizing the Chemistry of Climate Change (VC3Chem) project, we have developed and piloted four online interactive modules that address this gap by teaching core chemistry concepts through the rich context of climate science. The interactive web-based digital learning modules at www.vc3chem.com, to be publicly released in 2014, enable students to learn about isotopes, gases, acid/base chemistry, and thermochemistry by tying these concepts to relevant climate contexts. The modules can be used in traditional, flipped, or fully online classes and incorporate 25 applets that demonstrate concepts including IR absorption by greenhouse gases, carbon speciation in the ocean as a result of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, and alteration of the earth’s energy balance. The efficacy of these tools and this approach has been assessed through measuring changes in students’ understanding about both climate change and core chemistry concepts using Hake’s gain scores from pre-and post-tests.

P156: Development of a two-tiered multiple-choice diagnostic instrument for assessing general chemistry students’ understanding of the chemistry underlying climate science

Author: Ashley Versprille, Purdue University, USA

Co-Author: Marcy Towns, Purdue University, USA; Peter Mahaffy and Brian Martin, King's University College, Canada; Lallie McKenzie, Chem11, LLC, USA; Mary Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 11:30 AM11:50 AM

Room: LTT 103

Related Symposium: S13

As part of the NSF funded Visualizing the Chemistry of Climate Change (VC3) project, we have developed a Chemistry of Climate Science Diagnostic Instrument for use in general chemistry courses based on twenty-four student interviews. The findings from these interviews informed and guided the development of the multiple-choice diagnostic instrument. Our analysis and findings from the interviews indicate conceptual difficulties for students, both with basic climate literacy and underlying chemistry concepts. Students seem to confuse the greenhouse effect, global warming, and the ozone layer, and in terms of chemistry concepts, they lack a particulate level understanding of greenhouse gases and their interaction with electromagnetic radiation, causing them to not fully conceptualize the greenhouse effect and climate change. This diagnostic instrument is designed for chemistry professors who want to teach general chemistry, while also addressing core climate literacy principles. It will help professors examine their students’ prior knowledge and alternative conceptions of the chemistry concepts associated with climate science, which could then inform their teaching and instruction. Details of the development of the Chemistry of Climate Science Diagnostic Instrument, and preliminary findings from the full implementation of the diagnostic instrument will be shared.