Session S28b (Monday, 2pm, Wartik 108)

P311: Teaching students how to solve conceptual problems in the large lecture

Mary Jo Bojan (Pennsylvania State University, USA)

Because we have thousands of students taking General Chemistry each semester, we administer multiple-choice tests. If students only think and study algorithmically, they do not do well on the exams. In order to be successful, they have to practice problem-solving techniques that involve writing out their thought process and making connections to the concepts. But knowing that the exams will be multiple-choice, it is hard for students to understand the need for this type of problem solving. To help students learn this, I instituted “Lecture Problems” in my large lecture class. These are graded concept based questions in multiple-choice format. However, students only get credit for explaining WHY they chose the answer. In this talk, I will present sample Lecture Problems along with typical student responses, grading instructions for the TAs and the follow-up problem solving instructions we give students to help them be successful with concept based problems.

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