P20: Building a knowledge framework for organic chemistry students: A thematic approach to teaching

Author: Paul M. Morgan, Butler University, USA


Date: 8/3/14

Time: 4:00 PM4:20 PM

Room: LMH 176

Related Symposium: S3

Many students in “sophomore” organic chemistry classes have difficulty building an integrated knowledge framework around the course content. This can hinder students’ ability to memorize, process and organize new information. Initial exposure and encoding of information within a framework of existing memories and knowledge can aid comprehension and long term retention. Some students struggle to form this framework or have no concept of how to start forming one as organic chemistry may be the first subject that requires this level of cognitive organization from them. By explicitly laying out how the consistent, widely applicable themes within introductory organic chemistry topics apply to various situations and reactions, I attempt to pattern an interconnected version of knowledge organization. In this presentation I will detail the in-class presentation methods and language I use and the building blocks students can use to generate their own internal knowledge framework. The language and content organization I use is both flexible and scientifically rigorous enough to apply to a wide variety of reactions and aid problem solving in the most challenging areas of organic chemistry – product predictions, mechanism rationalizations and proposals of syntheses.