Development of POGIL-Style Classroom Activities for an Introductory Chemistry Course

Natalie Williamson, Gregory Metha, John Willison, Simon Pyke


Foundations of Chemistry IA (semester 1) and IB (semester 2) courses at the University of Adelaide are undertaken by Level I students pursuing a wide variety of degree programs that require a year of chemistry study. As a consequence, many students who have studied little, or no, chemistry in high school enrol in these courses. We redeveloped these courses for 2012 to cater to students with little or no chemistry background, with group-based Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) style activities used to deliver the majority of the course content.

We have been developing POGIL-style activities for all topics within both courses, but particularly in the area of introductory organic chemistry, for which few activities currently exist. Three organic chemistry activities were developed and subsequently tested in workshops run in November 2011 and April 2012. Student volunteers completed a survey consisting of Likert and open-ended questions related to the activities at the conclusion of each workshop. A focus group was also held at the conclusion of the second workshop. Feedback from the workshops and focus groups helped to refine and further develop the activities by suggesting the reorganisation of some questions for a better flow and make them less text-heavy.

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