P948: Redesigning the general chemistry laboratory curriculum to an atoms-first approach

Author: Jesse W. Karr, Siena College, USA

Co-Author: Jodi L. O'Donnell, Siena College, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 5:15 PM6:30 PM

Room: LIB

Related Symposium: S33

The purpose of this study was to redesign the General Chemistry curriculum at Siena College to an “atoms-first” approach; this include restructuring of the lecture and laboratory components of a two-semester sequence. Others who have moved to an atoms-first lecture have struggled with reorganization of the laboratory from a molecules first approach. Therefore our redesign included the implementation of several laboratory experiments with an “atom-first like” approach that complemented the new lecture order. These experiments were chosen for three main reasons: they fit with the atoms-first approach of the lecture better than the experiments they replaced; they focused on connecting laboratory experiences to real-world situations; they provide a greener experimental approach while still illustrating the same chemical concepts covered by ones they replaced. Here we share our experiences regarding restructuring of the laboratory curriculum along with why these labs were chosen.

P394: Preparing PUI students for critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills applicable to graduate school

Author: Jodi L. O'Donnell, Siena College, USA

Co-Author: Jesse W. Karr and Lucas J. Tucker, Siena College, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 6:00 PM7:15 PM

Room: KC

Related Symposium: S33

In the upper division chemistry and biochemistry courses at Siena College, we have recently added a number of activities and projects that focus on critical thinking skills in reading, writing, and classroom presentations. In their third and fourth years, starting with a Chemical Communications course, students are immersed in critical analysis of the literature, preparation of formal project proposals, peer review, and both formal and chalk-talk presentations. These skills and activities are reiterated and built upon in both lecture and laboratory courses, culminating in a capstone research experience during which students are required to apply all of the skills to an independent laboratory research project. Recent alumni who completed these activities and continued their education have reported their readiness for graduate school research is high owing to the communication and critical thinking skills practiced in these undergraduate courses.