Monthly Archives: January 2009

Common Sense Chemistry

This week, my students began their participation in the Open Notebook Science Solubility Challenge. Determining the solubility of an organic compound in a solvent is not the most demanding experimental goal but it does present a significant challenge for students if they are designing their own experiment. So far this experiment/experience has taught me the […]

An Activity Model for Scientific Inquiry

I was interested in a letter to Chemical & Engineering News (November 10, 2008 ) that proposed a “question-centered” model for Scientific Inquiry written by Rebecca Reiff and Teddie Mower. The nature of scientific inquiry comes up not only in experimental design and evaluation but also in articulation of the overall goals of science education. […]

An Inquiry into Inquiry-based Experiments

A review of the inquiry-based experimental literature shows that experimental protocols are much the same whether the experiment is expository, inquiry-driven or discovery-based. Indeed, two recent articles promoting Organic Chemistry laboratory reform propose that traditional verification experiments may be “recast” or “transformed” into inquiry-driven or discovery-based experiments. [mohrig2007_JCE_84_992_inquiry-driven, gaddis2007_JCE_84_848_guided-inquiry]. Herein lies the fertile ground for […]

Transforming Traditional Experiments

One of the best ways I have found to transform a conventional experience into a more inquiry or discovery type format is to diversify the reagents that are used for a synthesis and/or or analyzed by a procedure. That way, students compare their results with those of their classmates (past and present) as part of […]