Capturing students' identification of the relevance of organic chemistry in writing

Safron L. Milne, Solaire A. Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Nicholas F. Garza, Steven C. Zimmerman, Ginger V. Shultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Appealing to students' affect in academic settings, such as demonstrating chemistry's relevance to their life, is one strategy instructors may use to support students’ in learning. This study investigates the types of connections that students make to organic chemistry when responding to an open-ended writing assignment. Students enrolled in an introductory level organic chemistry course were asked to choose and write about an organic molecule they felt was important to their life, in doing so students wrote about the molecule's relevance to their life. Analysis of the writing was supported by semi-structured interviews with a subset of the students in which they discussed their approach to completing the assigment. Conclusions from this study suggest that students successfully made connections between their chosen moleucle and their life. Considered through the lens of relevance, students can both seek and find relevance in organic chemistry topics on a personal, societal, or vocational level; and therefore may reinforce their comprehension and appreciation of chemistry.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChemistry Education Research and Practice
StateE-pub ahead of print - Nov 16 2023


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