Monday July 30, PM Workshops

W42: Chemistry at Karlsruhe 1860: Using Reacting to the Past in General Chemistry

David E Henderson, Trinity College
Susan K. Henderson, Trinity College

The Reacting to the Past  RTTP science curriculum, developed in part with support from the NSF-CCLI program, is an active pedagogy based on role-playing games that use important historical moments to engage students in STEM topics. This workshop will introduce participants to Chemistry at Karlsruhe: 1860, a RTTP game designed for first semester general chemistry courses. The game requires about one week of class time, and during the game students will encounter many of the calculations and issues that are normally covered early in the first semester including density, empirical formula calculations and significant figures. The game is set at the first international conference on chemistry and at a time when the most central ideas of chemistry were just emerging. All students play roles as historical scientists and are divided into factions representing the old ideas of Berzelius and Liebig and the emerging group of organic chemists who are challenging th! e prevailing orthodoxy. The debate centers on whether atoms are real or only theoretical constructs and whether physical measurements of gas volume and density measure the same quantities as chemical measurements using reactions to obtain equivalent weights. Students in the game make presentations describing various experiments in electrochemistry, combustion analysis, gas volume and density. They use the experimental data and their calculations to argue over the proper formula of water, HO or H2O,  and carbon oxide, CO or CO2, and whether equivalent weights should be replaced by molecular weights. The debate will also consider the proper atomic weights of carbon ,6 or 12, and oxygen ,8 or 16. The Cannizzaro faction presents the argument of Avogadro for diatomic molecules and shows how this would unify physical and chemical measurements. A group of students who are not part of any faction hold the balance of power in the final voting on each issue and must be convinced by t! he data and arguments in order for any of the factions to win the game.  The workshop will also provide information on other Reacting to the Past science games available, assessment results, and the growing network of faculty who support this initiative; 3-hour session.

Intended Audience:  UG

$15 fee; limit of 40 participants

Monday, July 30, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., 201 OSM


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