Session S40 (Tuesday, 9:30am, Thomas 215)

P383: Patterns of student reasoning while interpreting organic chemical spectra

Shannon Anderson, Erika Offerdahl (North Dakota State University, USA)

Spectroscopy in organic chemistry can be challenging to teach and learn, as it requires students to transfer knowledge across different levels of abstraction.  This study explores the nature of student reasoning with respect to solving chemical structures from spectra.  In particular, we focused on characterizing the factors affecting students’ ability to solve structures and their corresponding reasoning strategies.  We adapted the 3 Phase-Single Interview Technique (3P-SIT) to interview more than twenty students enrolled in second semester organic chemistry at two universities.  Students primarily solved structures from H-1 NMR spectra, with supporting C-13 NMR, IR, and Mass spectra provided in phase three of the interview.  Interview transcripts and students’ written work were inductively analyzed using a constant comparative approach.  The most common structures produced by students, the use of specific solving steps such as the calculation of units of unsaturation, and an introductory look into students’ reasoning will be presented.

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