Journal of Chemical Education

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ISSN / EISSN : 0021-9584 / 1938-1328
Published by: American Chemical Society (ACS) (10.1021)
Total articles ≅ 50,246
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Harry E. Pence, Laura E. Pence
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00450

Abstract:
Nationally, as the chemical community aspires to become more diverse, it is essential to make students of all races, ethnicities, gender expressions, and physical abilities feel welcomed and represented in the introductory courses in the field. One way to accomplish this goal is to present examples of scientists who are not traditionally included in the discussion of development of chemical ideas. This article will discuss a number of sources of biographical information about chemists from diverse backgrounds and presents a low threshold project for incorporating examples into general chemistry.
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00677

Abstract:
An experiment in teaching students to use the literature to devise and defend a plan for novel research is presented as part of a graduate-level course in heterocyclic chemistry. Students in three successive iterations of the course completed an assignment during which they were assigned novel heterocyclic cores that were selected by varying or relocating the heteroatoms of a known drug. They were then asked to identify potential research areas related to their assigned cores and to determine whether the structures containing these cores were likely to have practical applications. The students presented their results as though they were a collaborative research group in an industrial setting requesting funding for future research. A full description of the assignment and a summary of the student outcomes and ideas for future development are discussed.
, Mary Harrell, Samuel Melaku, Lydia Ray, Hannah Turner
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00058

Abstract:
An instructional technology application of QR (quick response) codes for introducing commonly used chemistry laboratory apparatus for visually impaired students is presented. Audio commentaries describing commonly used apparatus were recorded. The commentaries consisted of concise introductions and applications of various apparatus used in high school and undergraduate chemistry laboratories. The QR code for each apparatus was produced and linked to the corresponding audio commentary via a unique URL. The QR code labels were attached to the apparatus. The QR codes were scanned on a mobile device and an audio commentary was played. Sixteen visually impaired students participated in testing the activity. The results of the testing activity underscored the efficacy of the technology offering an assisted physical learning experience. Technology presented in this article does not give visually impaired students an independent learning experience, rather it gives them an assisted learning experience which enhances their sense of inclusion in a laboratory environment.
Surya Pulukuri, Daniela Torres,
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00846

Abstract:
The transition from general chemistry to organic chemistry is challenging for many students. To succeed, students must remember their foundational chemistry skills and effectively transfer that knowledge into the context of organic chemistry. However, this transition is often hindered by many obstacles: (1) lack of prerequisite knowledge, (2) lack of understanding how foundational chemistry knowledge is applicable to organic chemistry, and (3) high levels of anxiety and low levels of self-efficacy toward organic chemistry. To address these challenges, a peer-led summer program that leverages question-embedded videos, worksheets, and synchronous remote webinars to enhance students’ transition into organic chemistry was developed and assessed. This six-week program, OrgoPrep, covers a wide set of introductory organic chemistry topics: resonance structures, hybridization and moleculer shape, molecular orbitals, acid–base chemistry, limiting reagents, and more. Substantial benefits, such as decreasing student anxiety and doubling student self-efficacy, were observed for students who completed OrgoPrep. These students also significantly outperformed their peers who did not participate in the program, despite having no statistical difference in prior chemistry abilities—OrgoPrep students had a 3-fold decrease in failing grades and a 2-fold increase in A grades. Overall, OrgoPrep successfully serves as a bridge between general and organic chemistry, while facilitating knowledge transfer and enhancing student self-efficacy.
Li-Kun Dong, Zi-Hao Li,
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00252

Abstract:
Student-centered teaching has become increasingly common in higher education as researchers have demonstrated its efficacy in recent decades. Herein, we hope to establish an efficient problem-based learning (PBL) method, which can help upper-division students learn organic chemistry content by combining teaching materials, experimental literature, and computational methods in a self-directed way, systematically and deeply. We aim to cultivate the critical-thinking skills of students and to expand modern research methods to analyze, predict, and understand organic chemical processes. On the basis of such goals and ideas, we take the practical Friedel–Crafts alkylation reaction as a model reaction. We focus on two key points, the pre-equilibrium and the rate-determining step (RDS). In combination with the textbook knowledge and DFT calculation method, we attempt to promote the upper-division students to further discuss and understand reaction details, including kinetic-controlled reactions, the Hammond–Leffler postulate, and the Curtin–Hammett principle, etc. Following this approach, we achieve our goals to discuss the Friedel–Crafts alkylation reaction and provide juniors with a deep understanding of the carbon–carbon bond formation reaction. Furthermore, students initially master the DFT calculation method and make a direct connection between experimental observations and computational results. This approach activates students’ study interests to further use core ideas of structures and bonding to rationalize complex chemical reaction phenomena for their future learning career.
S. Schmidt, Z. M. Wright, K. E. Eckhart, F. Starvaggi, W. Vickery, M. E. Wolf, M. Pitts, T. Warner, T. Taofik, M. Ng, et al.
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c01374

Abstract:
Teaching chemistry without access to a traditional laboratory space is an ongoing challenge that has become especially relevant because of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. While several remote learning options exist for covering general chemistry concepts (including kitchen-based experiments, online modules, and virtual reality), few options provide opportunities for hands-on learning about the chemistry of synthetic polymer materials. Here, we offer remote learning modules that use household adhesives as a platform for teaching polymer chemistry outside of the laboratory. These modules are designed for students who have taken at least one semester of organic chemistry and have varied hands-on time commitments, ranging from 2 to 10 total hours each. Concepts covered include polymer synthesis, intermolecular interactions, thermomechanical properties, structure–function relationships, and molecular design. The experiments described in these modules also give students a chance to practice research-relevant skills such as searching for primary literature sources, fabricating test samples, explaining unexpected experimental results, and revising experimental procedures to improve methodologies. Ultimately, these modules provide educators with an additional tool for teaching experimental chemistry outside of the laboratory.
Matheus Fernandes Filgueiras, Paulo Cesar de Jesus,
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c01392

Abstract:
The Griess assay is widely used by regulation agencies as an official method for nitrite quantification in water and food samples. In Brazil, the official method, which has been used to determine nitrite in food, was described by Instituto Adolfo Lutz (283/IV) in 1984. It uses 8 mL of reactants and provides 50 mL (reactants plus sample) of waste per sample analyzed. Here, students scaled down the official method 50 times and quantified nitrite in water and food samples by using just 0.2 mL of the Griess reactant and 1 mL of sample. Quantitative analysis was carried out using absorbance measured at 540 nm (standard method) and 96-well-plate images (proposed method) obtained with a desktop scanner. The nitrite was extracted from solid food samples by heating it in a water bath. After heating, sample color and turbidity were eliminated by addition of K4[Fe(CN)6] and ZnSO4 solutions and filtering. During samples preparation, students evaluate the heating time effect in nitrite extraction from sausage samples using hypothesis tests. Students did a series of matrix matched samples to observe the matrix effect. Students also calculated the detection limit (DL) and the quantification limit (QL) for the proposed method (1.35 and 4.1 μmol/L nitrite, respectively) and for the standard method (1.1 and 3.4 μmol/L nitrite, respectively). DL and QL were determined using the standard deviation of the lowest concentration point on the standard curve. The major pedagogical value of this laboratory class was to scale down the official method and use it to prepare and analyze a solid food sample. As a learning model, finding real water samples, which have nitrite concentrations larger than method QL, was a hard task, but all sausage samples analyzed had larger nitrate concentrations than the method QL and nitrite quantification in sausages was a good learning model.
Joshua D. Edwards, Ramón S. Barthelemy, Regina F. Frey
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00405

Abstract:
Students’ social belonging in a general chemistry course has been shown to predict academic performance in that course. Additionally, students’ social belonging at the beginning of a general chemistry course has been shown to differ across demographics, such as gender. This social belonging exists as both an absolute sense of belonging in the course and as an uncertainty in that belonging. Both social-belonging components are important for students’ performance and retention in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition to differential social belonging across demographics at the beginning of the course, social belonging can change in response to course performance. This change in social belonging may further affect performance which may further affect social belonging in a recursive spiral. In this study, we investigated the recursive effect between course-level social belonging (measured as two separate, but correlated, components: sense of belonging and belonging uncertainty) and course performance in a general chemistry 1 course delivered in a hybrid online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We found evidence that course-level social belonging and course performance interact with each other through a recursive mechanism during a semester of general chemistry 1. These findings highlight the importance of implementing inclusive interventions continuously throughout a general chemistry 1 course, particularly after key assessments, such as exams.
Elisabeth Rukmini, Mary E. Emenike, Hanna Angelina
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00386

Abstract:
Comprehensive community development programs in a university provide the opportunity to bring awareness to diversity, inclusion, and equity in students’ research projects. Unfortunately, the Indonesian higher education system is not yet fully inclusive of all of these issues. Students competed in a Student Creativity Program (PKM) project with faculty mentorship. Mentoring activities took place online through Microsoft Teams. At the end of the PKM and mentoring activities, students wrote personal reflections related to the project and mentoring process. We found that students’ reflections centered on issues of diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment. The inclusivity component influenced students to develop a proposal related to clean water access to address a problem faced by people in a low-cost municipal area maintained by the local government. The mentorship ultimately produced meaningful learning through science-based research, while distance learning platforms contributed to student empowerment.
Horst P. Beck, Meijuan Zhou, Pamela Hasanovic, Elias Gießelmann,
Journal of Chemical Education; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00510

Abstract:
In this work, we venture to show how careful use of a program for quantum chemical calculations (such as VASP) may enrich teaching in solid-state chemistry and how principles of thermodynamics contribute to a validation of phase diagrams and reaction pathways using the quasiternary system Li2O–Al2O3–SiO2 as an example. We show how to calculate formation and reaction energies, we discuss the stability of compounds with respect to their decomposition by introducing the convex hull principle, and we compare the relative stability of polymorphs as well. In a final sum-up, we treat the problem of triangulation in ternary phase diagrams. We show how such a practical course can refer to earlier preparatory courses on thermodynamics, crystallography, and quantum chemistry, and how the results of different tasks distributed among several groups of students can merge to an overall picture and help to solve many problems in understanding solid-state chemistry.
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