Presenter: William R. Smith

University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Session: “Myths, Facts and Recommendations for Teaching Some Topics in Chemistry Courses: A Systems Thinking Approach”

Monday, July 24, 2023 – SSC 1304 – 2:30 – 3:15 PM

Students enter university with varied levels of chemistry understanding acquired from their secondary school studies. Introductory university-level chemistry courses should both deepen this existing knowledge and expand it to new topics. It is firstly important that the topics are taught in such a way as to be scientifically sound, but it is also important whenever possible to integrate the topic presentation with knowledge they already know or are acquiring from other scientific fields within their programs of study. This is consistent with the “Systems Thinking in Chemistry Education (STICE)” philosophy, whose goal is to connect students’ chemistry studies with other disciplines. Its implementation showing the importance of chemistry in other fields might be called “Push STICE”, whereas it can be argued that “Pull STICE” bringing paradigms from other disciplines into chemistry is equally important.

In this presentation, I will describe some common misconceptions (“Myths”) involving the following topics in introductory chemistry courses: Dalton’s Law, the Balancing of Chemical Reactions, Equilibrium Constants, and Le Chatelier’s Principle. I will describe treatments (“Recommendations”) that are both scientifically correct (“Facts”) and that link with students’ knowledge in mathematics and other disciplines.

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