Session S5a (Sunday, 2pm, Life Sciences 009)

P27: Model kits versus modeling software: A comparison of students’ ability to determine molecular geometry and polarity

Jason Fuller (Eastern Kentucky University, USA)

A guided inquiry laboratory activity using molecular model kits has been used at EKU to address students’ difficulties with molecular geometries and polarity.  In this study, six lab sections used a modified version of this activity whereby the model kits were replaced with three-dimensional images from Models 360, a component of the Chemical Education Digital Library.  A similarly sized control group completed the activity using model kits.  Treatment and control group equivalency was based upon three criteria:  spatial ability (Purdue Visualization of Rotations Test), logical thinking (Group Assessment of Logical Thinking) and chemistry achievement (California Chemistry Diagnostic Test).  A post-lab quiz was used to assess differences in group performance.  This data is currently being analyzed to determine if replacing molecular model kits with Models 360 effects a significant difference in students’ ability to interpret 2D and 3D molecular representations and to determine polarity.  This analysis will be followed by correlating post-lab quiz performance against spatial ability, logical thinking ability, and chemistry achievement.

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