Session S56b (Wednesday, 2pm, Osmond 101)

P753: Teaching atoms first with a 1:2:1 sequence: Revamping our curriculum at Indiana University

Cathrine Reck (Indiana University, USA), Jill Robinson (Indiana University, USA), Martha Oakley (Indiana University, USA)

In 2005, Indiana University overhauled its curriculum to teach an atoms-first general chemistry in a 1:2:1 sequence.  Our constant struggle is teaching the requisite subjects in one semester in an atoms-first approach while making the labs work seamlessly.  Since we are teaching 1:2:1, we employ an entrance exam; hence, students do need to know something about chemistry upon taking the course – is it truly atoms-first, or are we cheating?  Whatever you call it, initial evidence indicates that it works from a student perspective and the number of majors has almost doubled.  Our challenges are unique due to combining a one-semester, atoms-first approach and we are evaluating its impact on the major’s classes later on in the curriculum.  The complex web of successes and challenges in both lecture and lab will be addressed.


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