Session S48 (Tuesday, 9:30am, Wartik 107)

P448: Student understanding in the undergraduate organic chemistry teaching laboratory

John Grutsch, George Bodner (Purdue University, USA)

Considerable attention, in recent years, has focused on the pedagogical effectiveness of the undergraduate chemistry teaching laboratory. Few formal research studies have been done, however, that examine what students learn from their undergraduate laboratory experience, and even less work has been done on students’ understanding of the chemistry they carry out in the organic chemistry laboratory. This paper reports the results of a study of 24 chemical engineering students enrolled in a sophomore-level organic chemistry laboratory course. Data was obtained by collecting students’ responses to questions asked on pre-lab quizzes that probed their understanding of the role of reactants and reagents in the execution of organic reactions performed throughout the semester.  Students’ responses were further explored through in-depth, open-ended interviews.  Our results reveal students have limited understanding of the role reagents and reactants play in the execution of organic reactions performed in the organic chemistry teaching laboratory.


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