Proposal Title

Classification of the frequency and types of errors students make during organic chemistry problem solving.

Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

7-7-2011 2:30 PM

Keywords

An instructional method for engaging students in correcting their problem solving errors

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Since problem solving is the heart of “doing science”, it is an essential skill for success in many science courses. In this presentation I will discuss an instructional technique that engages students in correcting their own problem solving errors during class time. Insights from the disciplines of organic chemistry and computer science will be shared. The instructional technique asks students to first attempt to solve a problem on carbonless-copy paper (CCP) and hand-in the top page as their initial work. During an instructor’s explanation of the problem solving and/or class discussion, students make corrections to their own work. Students then hand in this second layer of CCP. The third layer of the CCP, their corrected work, is kept by the students and becomes part of their course notes.

This method increases participation in problem solving and provides useful feedback to the instructor on how students are thinking about the material. Some students do not detect and correct their own errors, even when presented with a correct solution. Reasons and remedies for this will be discussed. The CCP instructional method is flexible in that it can be used in any science discipline, for individual or group work, and for participation marks or for performance grades.

I will briefly discuss how I am using the results of the analysis of student errors and error correction to develop ways to improve students’ prior knowledge (pre-lecture learning support) and for creating opportunities for more useful feedback (via peers, instructors, or technology).

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Jul 7th, 2:30 PM

Classification of the frequency and types of errors students make during organic chemistry problem solving.

Since problem solving is the heart of “doing science”, it is an essential skill for success in many science courses. In this presentation I will discuss an instructional technique that engages students in correcting their own problem solving errors during class time. Insights from the disciplines of organic chemistry and computer science will be shared. The instructional technique asks students to first attempt to solve a problem on carbonless-copy paper (CCP) and hand-in the top page as their initial work. During an instructor’s explanation of the problem solving and/or class discussion, students make corrections to their own work. Students then hand in this second layer of CCP. The third layer of the CCP, their corrected work, is kept by the students and becomes part of their course notes.

This method increases participation in problem solving and provides useful feedback to the instructor on how students are thinking about the material. Some students do not detect and correct their own errors, even when presented with a correct solution. Reasons and remedies for this will be discussed. The CCP instructional method is flexible in that it can be used in any science discipline, for individual or group work, and for participation marks or for performance grades.

I will briefly discuss how I am using the results of the analysis of student errors and error correction to develop ways to improve students’ prior knowledge (pre-lecture learning support) and for creating opportunities for more useful feedback (via peers, instructors, or technology).