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ERIC Number: EJ1173078
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Learning to Read Spectra: Teaching Decomposition with Excel in a Scientific Writing Course
Muelleman, Andrew W.; Glaser, Rainer E.
Journal of Chemical Education, v95 n3 p476-481 Mar 2018
Literacy requires reading comprehension, and fostering reading skills is an essential prerequisite to and a synergistic enabler of the development of writing skills. Reading comprehension in the chemical sciences not only consists of the understanding of text but also includes the reading and processing of data tables, schemes, and graphs. Thus, education in scientific writing in chemistry cannot focus on writing alone, but such efforts must aim both at the development of higher level skills in reading and writing; moreover, the reading instruction ought to occur concurrently with or precede the writing exercise. In this context, a computer laboratory experiment is described which develops students' ability to read spectra. The computer laboratory experiment cultivates students' Excel skills with the specific objective of teaching them how individual transitions overlap in spectra. Qualitative decomposition and an automated Solver extension method are discussed. Qualitative decomposition is best suited to develop students' understanding of overlapping transitions and spectra and to advance their conceptual knowledge. Learning to use "Solver" is a valuable "additional skill," but the automated process is no substitute for the learning experience provided by the qualitative decomposition.
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
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0928053; CHE0051007