P600: POE demonstrations
More than 30 years ago, the author led efforts to create a Purdue University Lecture Demonstration Handbook that is now in its 9th edition. The goal was to collect the various demonstrations individual members of our faculty were using in a single volume that could be distributed among the faculty to increase both awareness of what could be done and the frequency with which demonstrations were done. In its present form, the handbook lists more than 250 demonstrations, many of which have filmed and made available through the author’s website. There is no doubt that many of the demonstrations are designed to have a primary effect on students’ attitude toward the course, e.g., on the affective domain. This paper, however, will discuss examples of demonstrations that are based on the Predict, Observe, Explain (POE) model proposed by White and Gunstone in Probing Understanding, which was published in 1992 by the Falmer Press. These demonstrations and the POE approach to instruction are potentially effective ways to facilitate the development of conceptual understanding of what have been called threshold concepts, the concepts upon which a conceptual understanding of chemistry can be built.