P746: Excel®-based graphical model of ro-vibrational spectra to integrate quantum mechanical, statistical mechanical and spectroscopic concepts

Author: Stephen F. Cartier, Warren Wilson College, USA


Date: 8/6/14

Time: 11:10 AM11:30 AM

Room: MAN 123

Related Symposium: S56

An Excel®-based graphical model has been developed to enable students to explore and visualize changes in ro-vibrational spectra as a function of several variables. This model facilitates the understanding of the relationship between quantum and statistical mechanical concepts and how they manifest themselves in molecular spectra. The pedagogic rationale for developing this model is to extend the application and integration of statistical mechanical concepts throughout the physical chemistry curriculum through the use of software that is readily accessible. Using this interactive model, students can study the appearance of a variety of spectra as a function of temperature, vibrational wavenumber, rotational constant, and anharmonicity constant. Through the use of this model, students are encouraged to visually relate and quantitatively rationalize quantum mechanical, statistical mechanical and spectroscopic behaviors.

P527: Self-guided learning modules: Deductive reasoning exercises to enhance conceptual understanding in General Chemistry

Author: Stephen F. Cartier, Warren Wilson College, USA


Date: 8/5/14

Time: 2:05 PM2:25 PM

Room: MAN 122

Related Symposium: S15

A series of “self-guided learning modules” has been developed to support student mastery of General Chemistry course material. The goal of these exercises is to strengthen understanding of concepts through the development of deductive reasoning skills. Students are asked to employ their deductive reasoning skills to interpret conceptually-related real-life examples or to apply these skills through building on foundational knowledge. By engaging in these conceptual activities, students subconsciously acquire the ability to interpret and independently draw conclusions from their outside reading as well as apply their understanding to examples with which they may not be familiar. Too often, for students, a “correct answer” on a mathematical problem is interpreted as mastery of the material. However, solving a problem of a type that one has repeatedly practiced does not convey knowledge or an understanding of the underlying concepts. The goal of the modules developed here is to help students to think critically, to facilitate understanding of the underlying concepts, and to then apply this knowledge in a sensible manner. Exam questions can then be written in a manner that probes this understanding at a different level than problem solving. One of the outcomes of the use of such modules, in addition to the learning of general chemistry concepts, is for students to learn that they themselves are the best teachers they will ever have.