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Type: Journal article
Title: Educational analysis of the first year chemistry experiment 'Thermodynamics Think-In': an ACELL experiment
Author: Read, Justin Robert
Kable, Scott Henderson
Citation: Chemistry Education: Research and Practice, 2007; 8 (2):255-273
Part of: Special issue on Experiments and the Laboratory in Chemistry Education / Avi Hofstein and Rachel Mamlok-Naaman (eds.)
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Issue Date: 2007
ISSN: 1109-4028
School/Discipline: School of Chemistry and Physics
Statement of
Justin R. Read and Scott H. Kable
Abstract: This paper describes an educational analysis of a First Year University chemistry practical called ‘Thermodynamics Think-In’. The analysis follows the formalism of the Advancing Chemistry by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ACELL) project, which includes a statement of education objectives, and an analysis of the student learning experience. The practical consists of a suite of ten well-known, short experiments on the general theme of ‘thermodynamics in chemical change’. Pairs of students undertake a specified and graded set of five of these experiments. All experiments require careful observation by both students, followed by discussion between them until a common, mutually-agreed explanation for their observations can be formulated. The pair then discusses their explanation with a demonstrator, who may challenge it, point out flaws, or provide new information. Student surveys were conducted using the ACELL Student Learning Experience instrument. Analysis of the data shows that students enjoy working on the practical, and report it to be a beneficial learning experience that effectively develops their understanding of thermodynamic principles. The practical also fosters significant interest, and through a process of collaboration and cooperation aids the students in further developing their generic thinking skills.
Keywords: Laboratory-based learning; practical work; first-year undergraduate chemistry laboratory; student engagement; cooperative learning; ACELL project; physical chemistry; thermodynamics
Description: © The Royal Society of Chemistry
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Appears in Collections:Chemistry publications

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