CSI in a Lab: A problem Solving Approach to Undergraduate Chemistry Practicals


Fenelon, Orla and Breslin, Carmel B. (2012) CSI in a Lab: A problem Solving Approach to Undergraduate Chemistry Practicals. AISHE-J : The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 1 (1). ISSN 2009-3160

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Abstract

With an ever demanding job market and indu stry complaints of grade inflation in the university sector, o ur graduates need m ore t han jus t good grades to obtain su ccess ful employment. They need to be a b l e to demonstrate a wide variety of skills such as problem solving, team work and the ability to work on t h eir own initia tive. This paper discusses a new type of chemistry practical that tries to incorporate all of these skills in to a n engaging undergraduate la b oratory entitled “Mystery Death on a River”. Chemistry undergraduate labs a t present o f ten follow the cookbook recipe appro a ch where students follow a distin ct recipe wi th help from a de mon strator. While these type s of laboratories provide the students with valuable skills, they inhibit th e student’s ability to understand or pr o vide insight in to what they are a ctually d o i n g throughout the practical (Beussman 2007). This paper discusses the advantages of a ‘Myster y Death’ labora tory where the students work in groups to solve the mystery with little help from demonstra tors. The students are pre sent ed with a scenario of a deat h and are asked t o w o r k t ogether t o de sign and carryout the experiments necessary for solv ing the mystery death. They are provided with glassware, chemicals an d instruments to carry out the experiments and must finish the da y's work with a presentation of their findings. This study provides an interesting in sight into group work , stud e nt’s skills in the laboratory, problem solving and engaging students within a relaxed laboratory environment.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Mystery; Undergraduate; Chemistry; Practical; Problem Solving; Instrument;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Chemistry
Item ID: 9395
Depositing User: Orla Fenelon
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2018 14:36
Journal or Publication Title: AISHE-J : The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Publisher: All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE)
Refereed: No
URI:

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