“The contributions to knowledge in the domain of physical chemistry have increased with such rapidity within recent years that the prospective author of a general textbook finds himself confronted with the vexing problem of what to omit rather than what to include.” - Frederick H. Getman, 1913
Can the curriculum be updated to include modern examples without compromising the basics? The NSF grant mentioned in my profile is for a new set of materials for teaching introductory physical chemistry that tries to bridge this gap. The materials draw from the recent primary research literature to illustrate key principles in multidisciplinary contexts. For example, the kinetics of first order reactions, illustrated in many current texts by a paper from 1921 reporting the rate of decomposition of gaseous N2O5, can be covered instead by following the racemization of amino acids used in the last decade to date archeological samples.
Resources mentioned in the talk, which I promised to post here are:
Talk less, they learn more
- Using the pause procedure to enhance lecture recall. [Ruhl, K. L., Hughes, C. A., & Schloss, P. J. (1987, Winter). Teacher Education and Special Education, 10, 14-18]
- The importance of lecture in general-chemistry course performance [Birk, J.P., Foster, J. (1993) J Chem Ed 70 179]
- Departing from Lectures: An Evaluation of a Peer-Led Guided Inquiry Alternative [Lewis, S.E., Lewis, J.E. (2005) J Chem Ed 82 135]
- From Traditional to Radical [J. N. Spencer, Thought and Action, The NEA Higher Education Journal, XVII, No. 2 Winter 2001-2002]
- A Guided Inquiry Chemistry Course [J. J. Farrell, R. S. Moog, J. N. Spencer, J. Chem. Educ. 1999, 76, 570-574
Do less, they learn more
- Effects of lecture information density on medical student achievement [Russell. I.J., Hendricson, W.D., & Herbert, R.J. (November, 1984). Journal of Medical Education, 59, 881-889]
- POGIL:Physical Chemistry: A Guided Inquiry: Atoms, Molecules, and Spectroscopy, R. S. Moog, J. N. Spencer, J. J. Farrell; Houghton Mifflin: Boston, 2004.
- Physical Chemistry Online: Chem. Educator, 5 77-82 (2000) Deborah Sauder,* Marcy Towns, Betty Derrick, Alexander Grushow, Michael Kahlow, George Long, Danny Miles, George Shalhoub, Roland Stout, Michael Vaksman, William F. Pfeiffer, Gabriela Weaver, and Theresa Julia Zielinski
- Physical Chemistry in Context
- SymMath archive at Journal of Chemical Education