P22: Exploring student understanding of mechanistic arrows

Author: Kathryn P. Kohn, Michigan State University, USA

Co-Author: Sonia M. Underwood and Melanie M. Cooper, Michigan State University, USA

Date: 8/3/14

Time: 2:05 PM2:25 PM

Room: HON 148

Related Symposium: S4

The concept of mechanisms in organic chemistry is difficult and all too often is bypassed by students who instead focus on memorization to “learn” the extensive sets of reactions introduced. The basis of mechanism drawing, the electron-pushing formalism, requires students to identify the source and direction of electron flow in a reaction, and then further associate this use of arrows with the breaking and forming of bonds. Using beSocratic, a web-based system that allows students to respond to open-ended questions by drawing and writing, we asked students to construct mechanisms which were then replayed for analysis. This presentation will discuss how we use the program beSocratic to record and analyze student free-form input and include preliminary results of a new study on how students construct mechanisms.