P850: Using a context rich pedagogy to teach kinetics, quantum mechanics, and spectroscopy
We report the development and implementation of coupled class and lab materials to introduce students to the interdisciplinary applications of physical chemistry. These materials, inspired by the Physical Chemistry with a Purpose series, combine a guided reading of a recent paper from the literature with a complementary laboratory experiment using inexpensive and modular laboratory equipment. We report on two modules: an introduction to nanomaterials and a spectroscopic study of complex kinetics. In the nanomaterials study, students synthesize and characterize quantum dots by measuring the emission spectra. In the classroom they do a guided reading of a paper demonstrating the use of quantum dots to detect toxins. In the complex kinetics module, students use absorbance spectroscopy to measure the kinetics of the Belousov-Zhabotinksy [BZ] reaction. They model this reaction first with a predator/prey relationship, and determine the kinetic parameters of the oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinksy [BZ] reaction. In the classroom, they discuss a paper on complex atmospheric kinetics. We will also report the results from pre and post test surveys of student attitudes, and assessments of learning outcomes. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSF (DUE 1140326 and 1140327 ) for this project.