P873: Engaging non-science majors in the chemistry around us through information literacy
Everyone knows that teaching chemistry to non-science majors can be a special challenge! In “Chemistry in Context”, published by ACS, a heavy emphasis is placed on helping students to appreciate “chemistry” in every part of their daily lives. In our attempts to find a balance between teaching the typical basic chemistry topics and related societal issues, a program was developed to involve students in group, mini-research projects. The major purpose of this “project” was to: encourage students to search out chemistry-related information in their areas of interest, recognize the connections between scientific knowledge and our modern everyday lives, and to become proficient in information literacy. In order to incorporate information literacy into beginning chemistry classes, especially in a class for non-science majors, collaboration between the instructor and the librarian became vital. Students were grouped according to their topics of interest, guided to search for current information, write short research papers and to make group presentations. Library instruction sessions focused on how to locate, read, and take notes on reputable scientific articles. A library exercise was also given to enable students to practice what they learned. The end result was a satisfactory and successful outcome for students, instructor, and science librarian.