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Curricular Models for the Involvement of First and Second Year Students in Research Nancy Mills Department of Chemistry Trinity University San Antonio,

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Presentation on theme: "Curricular Models for the Involvement of First and Second Year Students in Research Nancy Mills Department of Chemistry Trinity University San Antonio,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Curricular Models for the Involvement of First and Second Year Students in Research Nancy Mills Department of Chemistry Trinity University San Antonio, Texas

2 Trinity University Predominantly undergraduate, 2400 undergraduates 200 Graduate students Selective,average SAT~1300 Chemistry department,7 faculty (soon to be 8) organic (3), inorganic, analytical, physical, biochemistry (soon to be 2)

3 Participation of Students in Research

4 Participation by First and Second Year Students

5 Curriculum at Trinity First yearFall, General ChemistrySpring, Organic I Second yearFall, Organic IISpring, Inorganic Third yearFall, Physical Chemistry ISpring, Analytical Third year, diverge into tracks for BA/BS Chemistry BS Biochemistry BS Biochemistry/Molecular Biology

6 Research Courses For credit:course for first and second years, Research Techniques and Applications course for experienced students and juniors/seniors, Independent Research in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Prerequisite, junior standing. Formal report required Honors Thesis Non-creditVolunteering in a research lab

7 Hidden Curricular Features Third semester biology (Cellular and Molecular Biology) requires one year of chemistry. Consequences: All premeds start taking chemistry their first year. Because there is great overlap in the populations of students in the first three courses in chemistry and biology, there can be curricular interactions. Advantages for biology: more chemistry in their early courses (BIO2010)

8 Advantages for Chemistry of the Organization of our Curriculum Students start taking chemistry their first semester and are therefore more likely to major in it. They take organic earlier, arguably more pedagogically accessible than the general chemistry survey course. With the skill set of organic techniques, they can go into research earlier; since the biology research program is smaller than ours, they come to us.

9 Consequences The number of chemistry majors is larger than the norm. Our upper division courses are healthier because they are larger. There is a greater sense of vitality in the department. And we can involve students in the research lab because they have had more exposure to sophisticated techniques.

10 Why do research with young, inexperienced students? Get to work with students for a longer period of time. Get more majors. Create a more vibrant undergraduate chemistry community in the department. Most important, give students the opportunity to explore a career path early in their academic career

11 Key Elements Organic early. Support from the biology curriculum. Buy-in by the chemistry faculty.

12 Only Possible at a Selective Institution? Trinity University Summer Undergraduate Research Experience SURE Funded by NSF-REU Targeted at students in local two and four year colleges that didnt offer a summer research program. Positions were guaranteed for at least one student at the four community colleges and three four- year institutions.

13 This Years Group

14 Laboratory Experience Spectrum Cookbook labsResearch Routine technician workResearch

15 Research Experiences in the Formal Curriculum Elements of research Asking a question Obtaining data to answer the question Creating new knowledge.

16 Cookbook labs Single experiment labs, with a question Multiple experiment labs, with a question Labs with student designed questions (with faculty input) or Teaching lab experiences that lead to publication in research journals

17 Single experiment labs, with a question What? Preparation of a propyl benzhydrol ether Issues: Nafion is an acidic catalyst with pores The most stable cation is the one from benzhydrol but does it form? Can it fit within the pores? Does 1-propanol fit within the pores? Does it rearrange? Not research, but possibly protoresearch. When? The first semester of organic lab (second semester freshmen)

18 Multiple experiment labs, with a question Friedel-Crafts acylation on unknown aromatic compound Grignard reaction to prepare suite of substituted benzoic acids Aldol condensation with many different combinations of substituted benzaldehydes and symmetrical and unsymmetrical ketones Pedagogical goals: NMR processing and analysis; vacuum distillation. Pedagogical goals: capillary electrophoresis to examine relationships between substituents and acidity, moisture sensitive reaction Pedagogical goals: recrystallization, NMR analysis and processing, Chemical Abstracts searching for MP data

19 Experiments from other colleges/universities Preparing Students for Research: Synthesis of Substituted Chalcones as a Comprehensive Guided-Inquiry Experience, J. R. Vyvyan, D. L. Pavia, G. M. Lampman, G S. Kriz J Chem Ed, , 1119 The Oxidation of Alkylbenzenes: Using Data Pooling in the Organic Laboratory to Illustrate Research in Organic Chemistry, James C. Adrian Jr. and Leslie A. Hull, J Chem Ed , 529. The Centerpiece of a Research-Oriented Curriculum, T. W. Hanks and Laura L. Wright, J. Chem. Ed , 1127.

20 Labs with student designed questions (with faculty input) Can we model the active site by varying the size of the -keto ester? Options: Taken from an article by Michael North, Journal of Chemical Education, 1998, 75, Second semester organic lab: Enzymatic reduction of a -keto ester

21 Other research-type experiments A Research-Based Sophomore Organic Chemistry Laboratory, D. Scott Davis, Robert J. Hargrove, and Jeffrey D. Hugdahl J Chem Ed, , 1127 Organic Chemistry Lab as a Research Experience, Thomas R. Ruttledge J Chem Ed , 1575 Honors Cup: Incorporating a synthetic project competition in second semester undergraduate organic chemistry. A.C. Gottfried, B. P. Coppola, Philadelphia ACS meeting, CHED 74

22 Experiments based on Faculty Research A New Investigative Sophomore Organic Laboratory Involving Individual Research Projects, Gregory B. Kharas. J Chem Ed , 829 The Bakers Yeast Reduction of Keto-Esters in Organic Solvents: A One Week Research Project for Undergraduate Students, Michael North, Journal of Chemical Education, 1998, 75, Bakers Yeast Reduction of -Keto Esters in Petrol, Michael North, Tetrahedron Lett 1996, 1699

23 Classroom Research: GC Studies of Linoleic and Linolenic Fatty Acids Found in French Fries, Janice P. Crowley, Kristen L. DeBoise, Megan R. Marshall, Hannah M. Shaffer, Sara Zafar, Kevin A. Jones, Nick R. Palko, Stephen M. Mitsch, Lindsay A. Sutton, Margaret Chang, Ilana Fromer, Jake Kraft, Jessica Meister, Amar Shah, Priscilla Tan, and James Whitchurch J Chem Ed , 824 Research Experiences in High School Chemistry Labs

24 Bottom line It is possible to design experiments that answer a question in a way that mimics a research-type experiment in the first two years of the chemistry curriculum. It is possible to involve students in undergraduate research in a meaningful way very early in their academic careers.


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