Session S56a (Wednesday, 9:30am, Osmond 101)

P630: Atoms first? So that's what all this skipping around in the book we have been doing for 20 years is called!

Curtis Pulliam, William Pfeiffer (Utica College, USA)

In the early 1990’s we began feeling that students were rushed in to topics such and thermodynamics and stiochiometric calculations before they had fully learned about atoms, ions, and molecules.  Students seemed to get lost and become frustrated in the mathematics of the typical first semester chemistry problems before they got a chance to learn about what we claim chemistry really is – the study of matter and the reactions and transformations that matter undergoes.  In 1993 we redesigned our general chemistry course at Utica College in order to establish a firm foundation based upon atomic and molecular structure on which to develop the other chemical concepts taught in this course and the courses that follow. This reorganization of our general chemistry curriculum, which we have been using in various forms for almost 20 years, has just recently become known as the “Atoms First” approach in the Chemical Education Community.   We will present our version of Atoms First (which still requires some skipping around, even in an Atoms First book), our use of organic styled models in the course, and our introduction of instrumentation in the general chemistry program.

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