Session S68a (Wednesday, 9:30am, Wartik 105)

P734: Atoms first or chemistry first?

Mark Bishop (Monterey Peninsula College, USA)

Have you ever wished that you could describe chemical reactions earlier in your introductory chemistry classes, allowing you to cover topics that your students are more likely to find interesting and allowing you to do more interesting experiments and demonstrations? Does it seem logical to you to provide your students with a complete description of atoms and chemical bonding before you describe chemical changes? Assuming that you can’t really do both, do you favor the chemistry-first or the atoms-first approach? Because I can see the benefits to both approaches, I’ve written two versions of my text, An Introduction to Chemistry. I’ll describe these two versions and discuss their pros and cons. Because I’ll be emphasizing the atoms-first approach in a presentation in another symposium, I’ll emphasize the chemistry-first approach in this presentation. See,,,, and


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