Analytical Chemistry

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Analytical chemistry

Popularising Chemistry

It always seems like we're starting from further behind than a lot of the other sciences are because they seem to know less about chemistry when they get here.  If I say ‘think of a famous physicist’ you probably already have thought of three.  Then you could go outside and ask someone to think of a famous physicist and they'd probably think of at least one of the same ones.  You do the same thing with biologists.  If I say to think of a famous chemist … that's within chemistry circles, we can't do it.  We can name one but you know if you go out there and say, ‘Who is this person?’ they've

Chemistry is a Continuum

The concept of a continuum is, I think, really important in chemistry and… what I see is that students come up with this issue of things being black or white.  They struggle with this concept of the in between stuff.

Real Life Examples

I know it's hard for them to 'suspend reality' and just accept a concept. They grasp for real life examples or metaphors which make sense to them. Students don't like the concept of something that can shift/change. They like one answer which is set and that's it, right or wrong - not 'shifts to the left/right'.

Changing Old Knowledge

Difficulties are having to relearn something that they thought was true from school and not understanding the evolving nature of science. New knowledge is easier to assimilate than changing old knowledge.

Transferring Knowledge

Students see equations and panic. Students struggle to transfer mathematical knowledge to chemical situations. Students silo knowledge and find it hard to relate concepts to actual systems.

Curiosity the Only Limit

Students should [only] be limited by students' curiosity.

A Learning Process

They [students] expect to either succeed or fail immediately or very quickly on particular problems. They do not see the process as a learning process.

Essay Workshops

We do an awful lot of focus on teaching but realisticly, authentic assessment that actually engages the student, that’s a tougher ask... I set a lot of essay type assignments.

Link to Real Applications

[Analytical chemistry] is probably one of the things that’s easiest to tie back to their own experiences.  Because it’s very easy to link the idea of the importance of chemical measurement, is actually pretty easy to get across.

The Bigger Picture

I want them to get the big picture about what analytical chemistry is about in terms of solving an analytical chemistry problem.  They need to know the big picture rather than just focussing on the measurement step.

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