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.