P794: Graduate TA professional development towards reliable assessment of student lab reports

Author: Mitchell Bruce, University of Maine, USA

Co-Author: Shirly Avargil and Susan Klemmer, University of Maine, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 10:15 AM10:35 AM

Room: HON 148

Related Symposium: S64

In response to moving our laboratory instruction towards more student-centered, inquiry-based approaches, at the University of Maine in 2009, we created a one-credit graduate level course for laboratory instructors, “Chemistry Instructional Laboratory Leadership” (CHY 502). The course exposes lab instructors to inquiry-based curriculum approaches, the discipline-based research literature focusing on conceptual understanding of key chemical concepts, and research-supported instructional strategies. Lab instructors, who are part of the general chemistry lab program, are required to attend the course each fall and take it for credit the first three times they participate. One of the central issues we have faced with professional development of a cohort of lab instructors is how to develop “community standards” for the reliable assessment of student lab work and grading lab reports. We will describe a professional development activity that was designed to identify differences in grading and discussions designed to initiate dialog about community standards.

P64: Learning quantum chemistry via a visual-conceptual approach: Students’ bidirectional textual and visual understanding

Author: Yehudit Judy Dori - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

Co-Author: Vered Dangor and Shirly Avargil, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel; Uri Peskin, Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

Date: 8/3/14

Time: 2:45 PM3:05 PM

Room: LOH 164

Related Symposium: S10

Most undergraduate chemistry courses and a few high school honors courses, which focus on physical chemistry and quantum mechanics, are highly mathematically-oriented. At the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, we developed a new module for high school students, titled Chemistry – From “the Hole” to “the Whole”: From the Nanoscale to Microelectronics. The module is based on a qualitative approach to teaching quantum chemistry, emphasizing interdisciplinary real-life applications and integration of visualization. While aimed at honors high school chemistry students, the module was also partially implemented and assessed in an undergraduate chemistry course. The research objective was to investigate the effect of the module on the visual and textual understanding of quantum mechanical concepts among 122 honors and 65 volunteer undergraduate chemistry students. The research tools included students’ pre- and post-questionnaires. High school honors and undergraduate students, who were exposed to the module, significantly improved their textual and visual understanding of quantum mechanical concepts and their ability to move across illustrations and explanations. Honors and undergraduate students minimized the gap that had existed between them in terms of integrating micro and quantum levels into their post-questionnaire answers. Our findings augment the current set of the four chemistry understanding levels – macro, micro, symbol and process – by adding the quantum mechanical level as a fifth level of chemistry understanding. The study contributes to teaching physical chemistry by providing a tool for learning, assessment, and research of chemistry understanding via both visual and textual modes.

P53: CORE learning cycle: Anchoring analogical reasoning to the laboratory experience

Author: Mitchell Bruce, University of Maine, USA

Co-Author: Shirly Avargil, Francois Amar and Alice Bruce, University of Maine, USA

Date: 8/3/14

Time: 4:00 PM4:20 PM

Room: MAN 123

Related Symposium: S8

A laboratory learning cycle has been created involving chemical observations, representations, and experimentation (CORE) to help students gain insight across macro and sub-microscopic (atomic scale) domains. A key aspect of the learning cycle is that students make their own chemical observations and then use them in support of an analogical reasoning activity to build representations to help them “see” and explore ideas in the atomic domain. This is followed by asking students to respond to a scientific question by designing, carrying out, and analyzing experimental results in an environment best described as open-inquiry. The presentation will include a comparison with the complementary E-I-A (explore, invent, apply) learning cycle, a description of how to use structure mapping theory to help guide curriculum development, and will include some student data involving analogical thinking and the construction of analogies.