Revision of Introductory Chemistry Lab Curriculum to Incorporate Inquiry-Based Experiments to Enhance Student Learning
The Chemistry Department at BSU is restructuring its curriculum to integrate and scaffold research into the four-year curriculum as part of a CUR-NSF grant. The overall goal of this Honors Thesis was to contribute to the Introductory Chemistry laboratory (CHEM 141L) curriculum development by selecting experiments that move away from traditional “cookbook” laboratory experiments to inquiry-based labs to better engage students and maximize their learning. Three skills identified by chemistry faculty as essential for the restructured CHEM 141L are: preparation of solutions; use of standard curves in quantitative analysis; and graphical analysis of data using Excel. The specific goals of this honors thesis were: (1) to select inquiry-based lab experiments (IBLs) that address two to three of those essential skills; (2) test, modify and refine the experiments to ensure that their level is appropriate for introductory chemistry lab and based on resources available in the department; and (3) write a CHEM141 laboratory handout for one to two IBLs that include background information, prelab questions to guide students in their inquiry, experimental procedure, and post-lab questions to ensure students understand the main purpose of the experiment. These goals were accomplished by searching for Journal of Chemical Education articles for IBLs that address 2-3 of the aforementioned skills and narrowing down the selection from an initial pool of 17 to three. Each of the selected IBLs were tested by following the experimental procedure, then the procedure was modified and finalized to ensure that they are level-appropriate for CHEM 141 laboratory curriculum. Of the three IBLs, the “Determination of Percent Cranberry in Cranberry-Apple Juice Blends” was selected for adoption because it was the most cost effective and the safest to perform. Finally, a CHEM 141 lab handout was written for this selected IBL.
Dr. Cielito DeRamos King, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Saritha Nellutla, Committee Member
Dr. Steven C. Haefner, Committee Member
Copyright and Permissions
Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Santos, Christian. (2020). Revision of Introductory Chemistry Lab Curriculum to Incorporate Inquiry-Based Experiments to Enhance Student Learning. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 343. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/343
Copyright © 2020 Christian Santos