P718: Being a Lone Ranger: Thoughts from a Lone Chemist

Author: Sarah S. Pierce, Cumberland University/Harpeth Hall School, USA


Date: 8/6/14

Time: 10:35 AM10:55 AM

Room: MAK A1111

Related Symposium: S52

Being the only chemist at a small liberal arts school can be overwhelming and pose many challenges, particularly to a new faculty member. This talk will discuss potential pitfalls that can be encountered in the first few years of teaching. Some of the challenges encountered in the first few years were adjusting to the math and computer skills of the student population, teaching a wide variety of classes, and engaging the non-major. Another challenge was designing laboratory experiments on a small budget. In addition to the challenges encountered, there are many benefits including collaborating with a diverse faculty. The importance of being an advocate for your discipline and yourself will also be discussed.

P173: Incorporating an original research project into a General Chemistry II laboratory class

Author: Sarah S. Pierce, Cumberland University/Harpeth Hall School, USA


Date: 8/4/14

Time: 9:35 AM9:55 AM

Room: MAK B1100

Related Symposium: S19

At the end of General Chemistry II, students are asked to propose an independent research project involving a soft drink. After the approval of the proposal, students spend two laboratory periods conducting experiments. The students write a research paper based on their independent project and present their results. Sample topics that have been researched include the determination of the acidity of sodas, comparing soda densities, the ability of a soft drink to dissolve a range of items (bone, chalk, chewing gum, iron, pennies), the amount of food coloring in soda, the amount of carbon dioxide produced by certain sodas, the isolation of cherry and vanilla flavoring, and different aspects of the Mentos diet coke reaction. During this presentation, laboratory management techniques will be discussed including how to avoid students finding the “right” hypothesis and organizing different experiments simultaneously. Assessment of the project will also be discussed including how to help students avoid plagiarism and how to develop a rubric for grading research papers and presentations.