P656: Let us assume a spherical horse: Turning physical chemistry into a critical thinking class
Many of us have heard how difficult students perceive physical chemistry to be. “Honk if you passed PChem” is a bumper sticker you’ve probably seen, if not owned. Physical chemistry is unique in that it is a class where prior knowledge in chemistry is put under scrutiny in order to obtain a more rigorous understanding of chemical principles. The goal of my project is to create a language and process of critical thinking (CT) that is useful in physical chemistry, and to have students become competent and comfortable with metacognition (or thinking about their thinking) without sacrificing physical chemistry content. I will focus on developing these important elements of reasoning in setting up physical chemistry as a CT course. My hope is that through the development of metacognitive skills, students will understand and retain thermodynamic concepts to a higher degree, and think critically outside of the discipline after completing the course.