Session S55b (Tuesday, 5:15pm, Willaman Gateway)

P618: Improving general chemistry problem solving skills: An instructional strategy

Madhu Mahalingam, Elisabetta Fasella, Elisabeth Morlino (University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, USA)

General chemistry problems can be classified as well-structured problems. The ability to solve problems is dependent both on the knowledge base and an ability to interconnect the concepts involved within the field. We have identified three levels of problem solving in our general chemistry problems. Problem solving level descriptions parallel the levels of knowledge described in the revised taxonomy by Anderson et. al. Our instructional strategy is to improve students’ problem solving skills in general chemistry by raising the level of problem solving gradually, using technology, such as clickers in class followed by online homework, online quizzes, and culminating in higher level  group problem solving in recitation. The results of implementation of group problem solving in recitation have been published in J. Chem. Ed. We now share results that show improved problem solving skills as measured by % correct on exams from 2004 to 2011 as we implemented our strategy.

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