Solaire, Field, Michael, Sabrina, and Emma’s paper, Exploring student thinking about addition reactions, is now available in the Journal of Chemical Education. Through this research, Solaire, Field, Michael, Sabrina, and Emma captured students’ thinking as they worked through two addition reaction mechanisms on paper or with the Mechanisms app. In an acid-catalyzed reaction, students successfully identified hydronium as an acid catalyst and most students used it correctly over the course of the reaction. Students primarily relied on substitution when determining carbocation stabilization, but applied resonance correctly when they considered it. This implies that during instruction, teachers should provide more emphasis on weighing chemical properties to determine reaction pathways. Check out the paper here!
In this paper, Field and co-authors analyzed students’ writing about an organic reaction mechanism using a framework to identify features necessary for mechanistic reasoning. Thy qualitatively described how students engaged in writing about features of the mechanisms, and quantitatively examined the co-occurrences of these features to make inferences about students’ mechanistic reasoning. Students included a number of mechanistic features in their writing, like the acidic reaction mechanism, electron movement, and appeals to concepts like acid-base chemistry and nucleophilicity/electrophilicity. Furthermore, they were able to identify different ways students reasoned about multiple reaction pathways and made connections between mechanistic steps and conceptual explanations. This paper suggests the capacity of using writing to elicit students’ mechanistic reasoning and identifies ways instructors can further support students’ mechanistic reasoning abilities. Congrats, Field! Read more here!
Solaire, Audrey, Gabrielle, and Catherine’s paper titled Capturing student conceptions of thermodynamics and kinetics using writing has been accepted to the Chemistry Education Research and Practice journal. In this project, students responded and wrote peer reviews for a Writing-to-Learn assignment focused on thermodynamics and kinetics concepts. Both responses and peer reviews were analyzed and revealed that peer review and the authentic context of the assignment supported students’ ability to describe thermodynamics and kinetics concepts. Students successfully provided substantive, content-focused comments to their peers. The writing analysis also indicates that, as instructors, we should provide more emphasis of the conceptual grounding of entropy, and help students build the connections between thermodynamics and kinetics. Click here to read more. Congrats to you all!
Ginger’s presentation about the MWrite project to the MIT Teaching and Learning Lab is described in a blog post written by MITili Staff.
Congratulations to Megan who was awarded the Wayne and Carol Pletcher Summer Fellowship in recognition of her research into NMR Learning. Well done Megan!
Congratulations to Eleni for having her first manuscript accepted to JRST! We celebrated with a classic #papercake. Here paper on graduate teaching assistants’ teacher knowledge and teacher identities is linked here.