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

P737: Do the math! Improved student success in first-year chemistry via homework that teaches the math of chemistry

Eric Nelson (retired, USA)

Research shows that since 1990, while HS student test scores in some areas in mathematics have gone up, scores have fallen in computation skills that are essential for calculations in the sciences, including mental arithmetic, fractions, exponentials, and logarithms.

This presentation will show examples of available tutorials that methodically review (and teach) the math component of chemistry calculations via homework, prior to the point that the math is needed in chemistry.  Testimony from instructors will be offered on the impact of moving a portion of the review of math to time before lecture, freeing time in lecture for demonstrations, discussions, and active learning.  Test score data will be presented showing increased student success in Preparatory Chemistry and subsequent General Chemistry from experiments with a “math as homework, more concepts in lecture” sequence.


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