P925: Fracking and the health of our water: Development of a research-based lab for general chemistry

Author: Rachel M. Driscoll, Central Michigan University, USA

Co-Author: Amber M. Miller, Janice Hall Tomasik, Sharyl A. Majorski and Dale J. LeCaptain, Central Michigan University, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 5:15 PM6:30 PM

Room: LIB

Related Symposium: S33

There has been a push in higher education to integrate research experiences into the undergraduate curriculum. It is suggested that inclusion of authentic research activities in undergraduate STEM courses results in increases in understanding of content, improved attitudes, retention in the field, critical-thinking skills, and improved self-efficacy. We have developed a general chemistry laboratory activity framed around the socio-scientific issue of hydraulic fracturing. Students performing this experiment collect data that contributes to a wider research project that generates a water and soil quality database for the local community. The research seeks to evaluate the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, and monitor the health over time of local water supplies. Students are asked to engage in cognitively-demanding processes (experimental design, constructing scientific arguments, and explanations) that are absent in “traditional” first-year general chemistry labs. The activity has been piloted at Central Michigan University (a 4-year research institution) and will also be incorporated at Saginaw Valley State University (a predominately undergraduate institution) and Delta College (a 2-year college) in Fall 2014. To quantify the impacts of replacing a traditional lab with this research-based lab, students were given pre- and post-lab attitudinal surveys and concept inventories. Results on student impacts from the pilot implementation will be reported, along with our plans for future dissemination of this work.

P871: Undergraduate Instrumental Analysis: Project-based labs and service learning used as student training tools

Author: Dale LeCaptain, Central Michigan University, USA

Co-Author: Janice Tomasik, Central Michigan University, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 3:40 PM4:00 PM

Room: MAN 107

Related Symposium: S60

Practicing analytical chemistry in the real world requires scientists to solve problems. This is not just running a pre-checked HPLC to find caffeine in their coffee, altering the gradient to observe retention time, and then writing a lengthy report on column efficiency as it relates to the altered chromatographic parameters. In reality, each new technique or method is not laid out linearly in an outline where the question or problem to solve that correlates to an upcoming exam evaluation. Analytical equipment breaks, methods need to adapted and developed, project goals change, communication is more important than the results, and the list goes on for what is expected of students when they enter the workplace. This presentation will discuss the design of an advanced analytical chemistry course with field experiences and lab activities held at a microbrewery to illustrate the real-life application of the content. Also presented will be the student responses to the experience as determined by an open-ended questionnaire given at the end of the course.

P286: Impacts of research-based environmental projects in a second-year Analytical Chemistry course

Author: Janice Hall Tomasik, Central Michigan University, USA

Co-Author: Dale J. LeCaptain, Central Michigan University, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: MAK B1100

Related Symposium: S19

One way to increase the real-world relevancy of course content is by incorporating environmental research-based experiences into the laboratory. In our efforts to increase relevancy and student motivation in our second-year analytical chemistry course, we have included field-based authentic research activities in our summer course that takes place on Beaver Island, MI at the CMU Biological Station. Students experience analytical chemistry in context and participate in research monitoring the quality of the island’s lakes and surrounding soils, and investigate potential impacts from industrial sites and buildings with lead-based paint. Student findings are of interest to the local residents and contribute to ongoing research projects conducted by faculty at the university. This presentation will discuss the most current lab implementation design and the recent evaluation results of the experience. Student responses were measured using pre- and post- surveys, and compared to those collected in previous summers and during the regular semester course.