Samuel Pazicni (University of New Hampshire, USA)
Physical chemistry is a quantitative field, seeking to provide physical and mathematical models for chemical phenomena. As part of the New Traditions curriculum reform project, it was concluded that problems existed within the physical chemistry curriculum, especially with regard to overuse of mathematical manipulation and a corresponding under-emphasis of conceptual development. The University of Michigan’s Chemical Principles course (Chemistry 260) is a conceptual (though not “math-less”) introduction to physical chemistry that follows a reformed first-year “organic first” experience. Presented here is an overview of the current “energy first” course organization, which includes lecture-based concept tests, a concept-based exam structure, and a supplemental honors experience that incorporates the “writing-to-teach” methodology.