P653: Investigating the impact of project-based chemistry lab activities on student motivation and persistence

Author: Nikita Burrows, Georgia State University, USA

Co-Author: Suazette Mooring, Georgia State University, USA

Date: 8/5/14

Time: 5:15 PM6:30 PM

Room: LIB

Related Symposium: S33

Literature of the past fifteen years has observed an intensified growth in the discussion of inventive pedagogies for the chemistry laboratory. Project-based or inquiry-based labs have become one such innovation of recent discussion in the academic world; however, few institutions have a rich history of experience with these types of labs. We address this gap in the research literature by initiating an investigation of the effect of project-based lab courses on Organic II Lab Students at a southeastern, four-year, research-intensive university. Project-based laboratories have been a part of the undergraduate chemistry curriculum at this institution for more than 30 years. This organic chemistry lab project has been developed and refined over years leading to a unique student organic synthesis experience. Pre- and post-course interviews with students reveal the motivation students associate with the lab along with other emerging themes.

P255: Concept connection: An investigation on the information obtained from concept maps

Author: Nikita Burrows, Georgia State University, USA

Co-Author: Suazette Mooring, Georgia State University, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 2:05 PM2:25 PM

Room: HON 148

Related Symposium: S4

Key principles/concepts are often developed and honed in the General Chemistry (G-Chem) course, then carried into other chemistry courses such as organic chemistry (O-Chem). A survey of chemistry faculty (N = 85) revealed that the top three general chemistry topics considered to be vital to the success in O-Chem are: Lewis structures, Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory and acid/base chemistry. These topics are vital to the core of O-Chem for the prediction of how and why molecules react and the foundations of mechanistic prediction. This study reports the outcomes of an investigation of O-Chem students’ conceptual understanding of Lewis Structure, and their application to problem solving of conceptual general chemistry questions. Participants constructed concept maps along with problem-solving interviews. The results indicated that most students contained flaws in conceptual understanding of Lewis structure principles that translated into their problem solving abilities and linked to their concept maps.

P51: Student perceptions of a project-based organic chemistry laboratory

Author: Suazette Mooring, Georgia State University, USA

Co-Author: Nikita Burrows, Georgia State University, USA; Jeffery Raker, University of South Florida, USA

Date: 8/3/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: MAN 123

Related Symposium: S8

The chemistry laboratory is considered an essential component of chemistry education of undergraduates. Claims of the benefits of laboratory instruction for students include: 1) promoting cognitive skills, 2) enhancing practical skills, and 3) increasing interest and attitude towards chemistry. However, despite these claims, the usefulness of the laboratory experiences to students’ chemistry education has been challenged. These challenges are validated by the fact that there are few quality studies of the impact of chemistry labs on student outcomes. Chemistry lab instruction ranges from open inquiry-based instruction to traditional or “cookbook” styled labs. Given the high cost of laboratory instruction, examination of student outcomes from different styles of laboratory instruction is of keen interest to the chemistry education community. To this end, the goal of this study is to investigate how different laboratory instruction-types affect student attitude and learning outcomes. Herein, we present the preliminary results of an investigation of the students’ perceptions of a project-based organic chemistry laboratory. Pre- and post-course semi-structured interviews were conducted with students enrolled in a project-based organic chemistry laboratory course. The interviews used a phenomenographic approach to examine students’ experiences in the course. The emerging themes from these interviews will be presented and discussed.