Sunday July 29, PM Sessions

S12: The Role of Mathematics in Teaching and Learning Chemistry

Organizer: Cary Kilner (University of New Hampshire, USA)

Presider: Cary Kilner (University of New Hampshire, USA)

Chemistry is an inherently quantitative science. For our more mathematically-adept students, such fluency sometimes results in chemistry calculations and problem-solving being performed without a full conceptual understanding. For our more mathematically-challenged students, a lack of fluency can present an unfortunate obstacle to a meaningful major and productive career in the life-sciences. What mathematics must students understand and be able to do to succeed in college-preparatory and general chemistry? What mathematics should we expect them to bring to our courses? What part of mathematics instruction can we take responsibility for to ensure students’ success without detracting from our primary mission, the chemistry content itself? What about upper-level courses? Should we use a mathematics diagnostic for physical chemistry to ensure that students are ready for its quantitative rigor? Is the mathematics that students learn in their math classes the same mathematics that they will need to use in your classes? How can mathematics education research assist us in understanding how to address the mathematical issues that our students encounter in our courses? These are some possibly relevant questions we should be asking. Are there others? Please join in the discussion of this very important topic.

     Introduction 2:00pm-2:05pm


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