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ERIC Number: EJ943206
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-1756-1108
Integrating Symmetry in Stereochemical Analysis in Introductory Organic Chemistry
Taagepera, Mare; Arasasingham, Ramesh D.; King, Susan; Potter, Frank; Martorell, Ingrid; Ford, David; Wu, Jason; Kearney, Aaron M.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v12 n3 p322-330 2011
We report a comparative study using "knowledge space theory" (KAT) to assess the impact of a hands-on laboratory exercise that used molecular model kits to emphasize the connections between a plane of symmetry, Charity, and isomerism in an introductory organic chemistry course. The experimental design compared three groups of students--two that carried out the laboratory exercise (treatment groups) and one that did not (control group). Our assessments revealed that all three groups made significant improvements in their understanding of Charity and isomerism, but that the two treatment groups showed more improvements than the control group. The KAT analysis showed that the acquisition of the skills for finding a plane of symmetry in a molecule came late in the students' critical learning pathways, which indicated that this was difficult for many students. Students were unfamiliar with this type of reasoning, and our studies revealed that the laboratory exercise was useful in teaching the method to introductory organic chemistry students. (Contains 3 notes, 1 table, and 3 figures.)
Royal Society of Chemistry. Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF, UK. Tel: +44-1223 420066; Fax: +44-1223 423623; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California