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ERIC Number: EJ1182193
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jun
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
A Single Reaction Thread Ties Multiple Core Concepts in an Introductory Chemistry Course
Barbee, Meredith H.; Carden, Robert G.; Johnson, Julia H. R.; Brown, Cameron L.; Canelas, Dorian A.; Craig, Stephen L.
Journal of Chemical Education, v95 n6 p939-946 Jun 2018
This work describes the use of a single chemical reaction to teach and connect a number of standard general chemistry course topics while also introducing students to polymer concepts. Through the study of the reaction that converts spiropyran into merocyanine, we are able to present and connect molecular orbital theory, quantum mechanics, equilibrium, hydrogen bonding, mechanical work, and polymer chemistry. By framing a number of different concepts with the same reaction, our goal is to allow students to see connections in seemingly disparate sections of general chemistry. At the same time, repeated study of this organic reaction provides a pathway for students to gain confidence and comfort with carbon-based molecular structures before stepping into an organic chemistry course. Experimental results indicate that there is no significant difference in student performance on problems linked to unit learning objectives when a group of students who complete the spiropyran-based exercises is compared to a control group who completed exercises involving smaller molecules. We describe here the materials used in both a team-based learning classroom and a concurrent laboratory module.
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 - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF); National Institutes of Health (DHHS); Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: CHE1508566|DMR1121107|DGE1106401|CHE1465209|5R25GM10376|P200A150114