Session S19b (Monday, 2pm, Wartik 107)

P239: Improving college students' understanding of acid and base concepts and applications

Jean Wan, Melanie Cooper, Sonia Underwood (Clemson University, USA)

Typically,  college curricula include three acid base theories: Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry, and Lewis. Although Lewis’ acid-base theory is generally thought to be the most sophisticated among these three theories, and can be further applied in reaction mechanisms, undergraduate students in general and organic chemistry often have little understanding of Lewis acid-base theory. As a result, these students may not associate this theory with mechanisms or any other part of their chemistry knowledge. Our research questions are: 1) Do different general chemistry curricula affect students’ understanding of acid base concepts and applications differently? And 2) Can we design relatively short activities to complement teaching and improve students’ understanding of acid base concepts and applications?  Results of pilot studies conducted as part of this project will be discussed.

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