P261: Investigating students’ understanding of electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with matter

Author: Christopher J. Minter, Michigan State University, USA

Co-Author: Nicole M. Becker and Melanie M. Cooper, Michigan State University, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 4:00 PM4:40 PM

Room: HON 148

Related Symposium: S4

Energy is an important cross-cutting concept throughout STEM disciplines. Within undergraduate chemistry courses, energy is generally taught from three perspectives: the macroscopic, the atomic-molecular, and the quantum-mechanical. However, these approaches are often taught in isolation – leaving students with a fragmented knowledge of energy concepts. Through “Chemistry, Life, the Universe, and Everything” (CLUE), a new general chemistry curriculum, we aim to emphasize the interconnectedness between these approaches to energy in order to help students gain a deeper conceptual understanding of energy. Here we present preliminary findings from a qualitative study, consisting of semi-structured interviews and open-ended assessments, aimed at eliciting students’ understanding of electromagnetic radiation and its interactions with molecules. Application of this work will be discussed in the context of how it informs our evidence-based learning progression of energy within the CLUE curriculum.