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ERIC Number: EJ1159491
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Independent Synthesis Projects in the Organic Chemistry Teaching Laboratories: Bridging the Gap between Student and Researcher
Keller, Valerie A.; Kendall, Beatrice Lin
Journal of Chemical Education, v94 n10 p1450-1457 Oct 2017
Science educators strive to teach students how to be well-rounded scientists with the ability to problem solve, anticipate errors, and adapt to unexpected roadblocks. Traditional organic chemistry experiments seldom teach these skills, no matter how novel or contemporary the subject material. This paper reports on the success of a quarter-long organic chemistry laboratory experiment that takes the form of a research project designed to teach these real-life skills. Students took a three-step synthetic sequence from a literature source, and changed parameters to improve the yield. This involved library research and two levels of proposals, followed by a written report and a poster presentation. The goal was to simulate the different aspects of a research lab, from literature searches to problem solving to presenting results. The students experienced unexpected difficulties and were graded on how they overcame these obstacles, rather than on how much they improved the yields.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois (Chicago)
Grant or Contract Numbers: CHE1048528