arrive in your chemistry class with an enormous diversity
of background. What if the
instructional material teaching the concepts of chemistry
linked to many of their common experiences?
Wouldn't it become
easier to make an impact, to have active learning,
showing how chemistry impacts the mainstream of our
units are freely available for your use. They link
chemical concepts taught in General Chemistry to
responsible decision making in our society.
The cases provide
a ready resource of capsules of knowledge that challenge
and entertain your students. They provide you with
a continuing, thematic source of auxiliary material to
supplement your instruction.
Chemistry and You
Chemistry and the Community
for the 21st Century
Pathways and Chemical Concepts
and Society a. Chemistry and History of Automotive Fuels
Society b. Sixty Years of Tetraethyllead
Society c. How Lead was Finally Removed from Gasoline
is the Availability of ChemCases?
is ChemCases Pedagogy?
How do ChemCases.com Integrate
into the chemistry concepts in the curriculum?
1. ChemCases are pedagogical concept maps available for internet/web browser
2. Each concept receives separate treatment in its
3. As you proceed through the case in class or as
an assignment, the concepts show increased cognitive demand.
4. The symbolism linking microscopic and macroscopic
concepts is emphasized.
5. Each ChemCase ends with an evaluative group asignment.
6. Students use web links, email, and streaming audio/video in early stages of case, then are required
to enter whiteboard/chat functions during evaluative
at Kennesaw State
1. Dr. Matt Hermes
- We used a
web-based ChemCases curriculum supplements at
Kennesaw State University in the spring of 1999
for a second semester general chemistry we called
- We covered
chemistry broadly, including organic, nuclear and
descriptive chemistry of the groups.
- We emphasized
five cases in classroom discussion.
- We found the
time by eliminating quantitative problem solving
review in the classroom.
preparation the students achieved the same
average score (23/50) on the standard
quantitative ACS exam as students taking standard
course at Kennesaw State.
scored 33/60 on ASC conceptual exam. This nationl mean score is 33/60.
of students rated the course as
"excellent", 33% rated
the course as "very good", and 0%
considered it "good, fair, or poor".
Robert Morris/Spring 2000
Prof. Robert Morris introduced
the Gatorade module in his class of 94 General Chemistry
students. He reports the thematic nature of the unit was
helpful but that use of the single unit was insufficient
to test ChemCases.com. He surveyed his students, asking
them if the Gatorade unit was useful to them. They split
exactly evenly; 47 students answering yes,
47 answering no.
Robert Nelson/Dr. Brian Koehler/ Ga. Southern University,
Prof. Jim LoBue organized introduction
of the Gatorade case into two General Chemistry classes
at Ga. Southern University.
writes, "I wish I that I could describe our
experience with the Gatorade Chem Case as an unqualified
success, but I can't. I think the best I can say is that
theChemCase does not get in the way of learning; students
do no worse. I think though that the implementation of
the Chem Cases was not ideal. The learning style promoted
by the Chem Case philosophy is so different from the
learning style otherwise employed in these classes that
we cannot get a truly good measure of Chem cases as an
effective alternateive unless it is used exclusively in a
given course. In this way students would get used to a
given style that would be consistently used throughout
Nelson and Koehler liked the ChemCases.com concept; Prof
Koehler suggests a more rigorous apporach to the
quantitative aspects in the work.
and Conceptual Exam rsults in the Koehler and Nelson
classes at Ga. Southern along with a control class taught
by Prof. Nelson are:
indicate no impact of the single case on measured student
Please note the conceptual
score of the students at Kennesaw State who had five
ChemCses.com units introduced (33/60) appears to be
||ChemCases in the Classroom
- 1. Gatorade: Used while teaching solution
properties. (Or introduce briefly at
thermochemistry and do exercises at solution
properties). Should take about 35 minutes
to cover specific concepts. Teaches
practical colligative property uses, teaches
intellectual property rights.
- Composition of
Gatorade from label funtioned as basis for
testing on solution properties, thermochemistry.
- When asked "Who
Owns Gatorade" the class divided evenly
among inventors, university administration and
- Students in roles of
coaches, inventors and players decided that full
disclosure, knowledge of side effects and the
establishment of control experiments were
necessary when asked "Did the Docs Have a
Right to Test?".
- 2. NutraSweet: In two hours, the unit
teaches entire organic requirement in General
Chemistry by focusing solely on the aspartame
molecule. Teaches funtional groups,
structure, isomers. Reinforces
- By asking the student
to evaluate the claims that NutraSweet is really
quite toxic, the unit forced the student to
evaluate the role of regulation and the
proliferation of false science.
- Group exercise offers
the opportunity for student-student,
student-faculty and student-public interaction
via chat groups.
- Students evaluated
claims of toxicity and found no science that
substantiated claims. Found instead that a
single source claiming toxicity was in fact
promoting a competing artificial sweetener.
- 3. Fluorocarbon Alternatives: The equations for
catalyzed decompositon of stratospheric ozone
were used to illustrate the major concepts of
chemical kinetics -- activation energy,
catalysis, reaction mechanisms, chain reactions
and intermediates. Coupling this chemistry
with the smog-producing chemistry and the bulk of
the kinetics chapter is covered.
- We were fortunate to
have Dr. Bill Gumprecht, author of the unit
available to discuss fluorocarbon
alternatives. We needed to establish a case
for discussion -- probably the question of how we
would test Sherwood and Molina's hypothesis in
the absence of existing data.
- 4. Silicones: One hour devoted to the
development of silicones after sections on Group
1-4 elements introduces observation, practical
- By offering a current
review of implant situations - both scientific
and the legal issues of the bankruptcy of
Dow-Corning, this unit tackles the heart of
science and decision making.
- Case became
culminating capstone written assignment for
students. Assignment required
collaborative effort at developing individual
concepts of the role of government, commercial
organizations and individuals in scientific
- Results dealt in
mature way with gender issues in the approach to
science and with rights of individuals to make
- 5. Nuclear Chemistry: Brief discussion of nuclear
chemistry centered on the basic nuclear
equations. Then followed a class reading of
Chadwick's 1932 paper on the discovery of the
paper showed the students that Nobel-stature
science was within realm of their
understanding. It showed that Chadwick
relied on the principles the students had learned
in his discovery. And it revealed how
science is rich with personality and contention.
(Chadwick took an unconcealed swipe at the
Joliet-Curies in his brief text. He
suggested that their recent paper would be
correct only if the law of conservation of matter
had not been operating.)
ChemCases.com is a series
of curriculum units that link responsible decision making
in product development with chemical principles taught in
We expect ChemCases.com
curriculum supplements will lead interested students
toward the sciences, medicine, pharmacy and engineering
how the tools of chemistry are used in the service of
Comprehension of the conflicting information
necessary to move an idea to the marketplace
Application of this information to show how
chemical principles are used to make decisions
Evaluation of the data to synthesize
solutions to technical and non technical challenges
© 2001 Kennesaw State University.
Principal Investigator Laurence Peterson; Project Director Matthew Hermes.
NSF Grant DUE-9652889