Session S28a (Monday, 9:30am, Wartik 108)

P200: Shifting learning outcomes in General Chemistry as our phones become smarter

Karsten Theis (Westfield State University, USA)

The scientific data and computational power accessible via smartphones dwarves that of our brains.  Which aspects of problem solving should be emphasized or deemphasized in this changing landscape? As part of an upper level undergraduate course, we sought opportunities to integrate computational insights into solving quantitative problems. We will present a corpus of word problems annotated by an ontology that connects relevant compounds, phases, systems and reactions to physical quantities in both a machine-readable and a visual representation. Worked solutions match problems with similarly annotated laws, and they highlight information that is extraneous, is encoded e.g. in chemical formulae, or needs to be retrieved. To find a correct solution, students have to 1) represent problems, 2) apply relevant laws and 3) calculate with physical quantities. We will show tools that help in each of these stages, not by giving away the answer, but by prodding, providing suggestions, and scaffolding solutions.


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