P581: Revisions to GOB for better student engagement

Author: Connie Gabel, Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA


Date: 8/5/14

Time: 4:40 PM5:00 PM

Room: LOH 164

Related Symposium: S41

The GOB curriculum has a wealth of information that can be delivered during the course of the semester. This quickly tends to lead to information overload and unengaged students. Inclusion of connections to their majors and just-off-the-press topics increases their interest and participation. For example, including an article about caffeine during the unit on amines helps them to see the relevance of heterocyclic structures. Learning the role that supply and demand play in the global marketplace facilitates their understanding of the importance of synthesizing products such as menthol. Working problems in groups allows them to combine their knowledge to name organic compounds, determine reaction products, clarify biochemical concepts, draw strands of DNA, and do similar problems. Subsequently having students put their results on the board allows others to see answers and make corrections as needed. Revisions to the lab can help make better connections between the lecture material and the experiments which students do. For example, an experiment on extraction is similar to the flowchart that is presented in the text regarding the discussion of organic functional groups. Steam distillation of spices such as cinnamon gives students an olfactory link to cinnamaldehyde. Extraction of DNA from strawberries is of high interest to students and assists them in associating the lecture material and diagrams with a visual image of actual DNA. These revisions make the course more relevant to students.

P242: Improving student learning with Supplemental Instruction

Author: Connie Gabel, Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA


Date: 8/4/14

Time: 9:35 AM9:55 AM

Room: MAK A1151

Related Symposium: S29

Peer-led Supplemental Instruction (SI) has been shown to improve student learning. Supplemental Instruction Peer Leaders are top students who have already taken the targeted chemistry class and have done well in the class. These students are trained to lead Supplemental Instruction sessions twice a week, usually just prior to the lecture. They also meet with students during office hours to provide additional help. The SI Peer Leaders focus on helping students to understand the concepts whereas tutoring usually involves working through homework problems. Focusing on understanding concepts and problem solving methods helps students to break the dependency cycle. Using constructivism as the theoretical framework facilitates building a web of knowledge through the use of neural scaffolding, chunking, linking to prior knowledge and related pedagogical methods. Research has shown the need to build strong connections in the brain, which is facilitated by repetition, revisiting concepts, and similar methods. Findings indicate the need for a solid foundation of general chemistry concepts that carry forward to higher level classes such as analytical, organic, and physical chemistry. Likewise, a strong foundation in organic chemistry is vital for a deeper understanding of biochemistry. Gaps in learning hamper student progress in understanding concepts and thus they struggle in the chemistry class. Supplemental Instruction can be used to bridge those knowledge gaps to help students be more successful. Pre and posttest data have identified some of the typical gaps in learning that occur with chemistry students.