P261: Investigating students’ understanding of electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with matter

Author: Christopher J. Minter, Michigan State University, USA

Co-Author: Nicole M. Becker and Melanie M. Cooper, Michigan State University, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 4:00 PM4:40 PM

Room: HON 148

Related Symposium: S4

Energy is an important cross-cutting concept throughout STEM disciplines. Within undergraduate chemistry courses, energy is generally taught from three perspectives: the macroscopic, the atomic-molecular, and the quantum-mechanical. However, these approaches are often taught in isolation – leaving students with a fragmented knowledge of energy concepts. Through “Chemistry, Life, the Universe, and Everything” (CLUE), a new general chemistry curriculum, we aim to emphasize the interconnectedness between these approaches to energy in order to help students gain a deeper conceptual understanding of energy. Here we present preliminary findings from a qualitative study, consisting of semi-structured interviews and open-ended assessments, aimed at eliciting students’ understanding of electromagnetic radiation and its interactions with molecules. Application of this work will be discussed in the context of how it informs our evidence-based learning progression of energy within the CLUE curriculum.

P155: Students’ understanding of energy across atomic-molecular and macroscopic contexts

Author: Nicole Becker, Michigan State University, USA

Co-Author:

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 11:10 AM11:30 AM

Room: LTT 103

Related Symposium: S13

Understanding the central role of energy in chemical systems can serve as a foundation for learning a wide range of chemistry concepts. However, it is well established that students may emerge from chemistry courses with fragmented understandings of energy ideas and little understanding of the ways in which changes at the atomic-molecular level impact energy changes in macroscopic systems. Our work approaches this problem through the development of an evidence-based learning progression for energy in the context of an undergraduate general chemistry curriculum called Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything (CLUE). We use a design-research approach to develop and refine the progression of energy ideas in CLUE, which aims at helping students better use energy as a tool for predicting and explaining chemical phenomena. Here, we report on a qualitative study of students’ understanding of enthalpy and phase change in which we examine the ways in which students relate energy ideas across atomic-molecular and macroscopic contexts. The ways in which this study contributes to the ongoing refinement of curricular materials within the CLUE curriculum will be discussed.

P126: Exploring students’ understanding of energy to inform an evidence-based learning progression for energy

Author: Oscar H. Judd, Michigan State University, USA

Co-Author: Nicole M. Becker and Melanie M. Cooper, Michigan State University, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 10:15 AM10:35 AM

Room: HON 148

Related Symposium: S4

Understanding the role of energy in chemical systems is critical to understanding chemical phenomena. However, research has shown that energy concepts are difficult for students, even at college-level. In order to support students’ understanding of energy in chemical systems, our current work seeks to refine a learning progression for energy in the context of a reformed undergraduate general chemistry curriculum, Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything (CLUE). We conducted semi-structured interviews, in order to investigate students’ understandings of energy changes in the context of simple atomic-molecular systems. Here we present a case study analysis of the successes and challenges encountered by students from both CLUE and traditional chemistry courses and we compare findings from the interviews with findings from an analysis of student responses to open-ended formative assessments administered during the CLUE class. Implications for assessment design and teaching are discussed.