Proposal Title: Implementation of Argument-Driven Inquiry for General Chemistry Laboratory Courses

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1 Proposal Title: Implementation of Argument-Driven Inquiry for General Chemistry Laboratory Courses Abstract: Argument-driven inquiry is a laboratory curriculum that has been developed, extensively researched, and evaluated over a five-year period. The existing research on ADI presents a significant body of work that not only demonstrates that students can make significant improvement in argumentation, science writing, affect, and science practice when ADI is used in a Chemistry lab course, but also demonstrates the inadequacy of traditional laboratory instruction to achieve these same goals. The Department of Chemistry has expressed a desire to revamp the general chemistry labs in order to engage students in a more active learning environment that embeds key scientific practices such as investigation design, argumentation and writing. ADI fits these outcomes and the developer of ADI at the undergraduate level has recently joined the Department of Chemistry. This project will launch the transition to the laboratory curriculum by development of 12 ADI laboratory investigations for the two-semester General Chemistry Laboratory sequence and development of instructional materials for faculty and teaching assistants. The new curriculum will be piloted in select sections of CHEM1151 and CHEM 1161 during the academic year. 1

2 Purpose/Objective: The purpose of the teaching grant is to provide summer session 1 funding for the design of 12 laboratory investigations, six for General Chemistry I and six for General Chemistry II. These investigations will be developed through a combination of adapting the lab experiments currently used for ADI and through adjustments of published ADI investigations. In concert with development of the laboratory investigations, instructional materials will be designed, both textual and video, that will facilitate instructor transition to this new pedagogical method. The ADI instructional approach is designed to give a more central place to argumentation and the role of argument in the social construction of scientific knowledge while promoting inquiry. Figure 1 outlines the eight steps of ADI that are designed to integrate the learning of scientific concepts and scientific practices in such a way that little explicit instruction is necessary; rather, students gain proficiency through engagement in the laboratory investigations, moving from investigation design, to data analysis and argument development, to argumentation sessions, and to a final written argument. 2

3 The learning outcomes from this instructional model are improved student ability in investigation design and analysis and in argument construction and evaluation. In addition, the impact of this curriculum on student affect will be measured. Previous research suggested that ADI can improve student attitudes towards science. Improved student attitudes has the potential to improve retention and motivation for continued study. Project Description: Laboratory courses are a key feature of the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. Many chemistry laboratory courses, however, are only designed to demonstrate or verify content introduced in a lecture course and to provide students with experience and training in the use of a wide range of equipment and techniques. Unfortunately, this type of focus only prepares students to serve as technicians in their field and does little to prepare them to actually do chemistry after they graduate. The Society of College Science Teachers (SCST) and the National Research Council have recommended that laboratory courses be redesigned so the activities are more inquiry-based, grounded in current research on how people learn, and promote more critical thinking, problem solving, and collaborative work. ADI meets these goals for reformed laboratory instruction. The first phase of the project will focus on identifying the primary topics to be incorporated into the ADI investigations developed for each laboratory course. Ideally, the types of laboratory investigations conducted will not change significantly. Rather, existing experiments will be adapted or new experiments will use existing resources (i.e. chemicals, equipment). Each investigation will be tested in collaboration with volunteers (students or instructors) as much as possible. Once the investigations are developed and vetted, the project will shift to development of instructional materials. This is a significant pedagogical shift, and the Department of 3

4 Chemistry employs a variety of instructors at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty level. In implementation at other institutions, a video introducing ADI was tremendously helpful in orienting instructors of all backgrounds to the ADI instructional model. In addition, to the video, investigation specific instructional notes will guide instructors in facilitating the inquiry based labs. A final element is providing coaching in using the scoring rubric for the lab reports. A workshop was previously developed, that provides instructors with exemplar reports to score which can then be compared to a exemplar scoring. Need and Impact: At ECU, as with most university science courses, students tend to earn A s and B s in lab but there is a significantly lower success rate (< 60-70% passing) in the corresponding lecture courses. However, through the argumentation focus in the laboratory course, students will come to understand how scientific knowledge is created, and they will understand the scientific processes that resulted in the informational content presented in lecture. In addition, this process of engagement in scientific practices is known to impact student attitudes which has been shown to result in improved performance and continuation into the next course in the major. This project represents a 75% change in the laboratory courses for both General Chemistry I and II, impacting an approximate annual enrollment of 1100 students in General Chemistry I and 800 in General Chemistry II. These courses are taught each semester of the academic year, as well as both summer sessions. Schedule of Activities: Inquiry labs are minimally scripted, in order for students to have flexibility in design; however, this requires careful scaffolding of the investigation for practical and safety reasons. Development and testing of laboratory investigations is a time consuming process that requires large blocks of time in order to experiment with the variables that will impact student results. Three weeks will allow at least one full day to develop each of the 12 4

5 investigations. The write-up of the investigations, including pre-laboratory activities and questions as well as the instructor training materials, will require two-weeks of work. The final week will be spent preparing for the Fall Semester, ensuring that all materials are submitted for printing. In addition, a schedule for laboratory set-ups and preparation will be established with the lab manager. Summer Session I Weeks 1-3 Weeks 4-5 Week 6 Fall Spring Develop ADI Investigations X Develop Instructional Materials X Prepare Lab Packets for Fall X Pilot Curriculum in Select Sections X X Pre/Post Attitude Survey X X Experimental Design, Explanation, and Argument Assessment X X Evaluation Plan: Since the laboratory curriculum will be piloted for the first year, the assessments will be administered to matched sections using the traditional laboratory curriculum for comparison. This two semester comparison study will inform the direction of complete implementation of the laboratory reform. Two types of assessment will be used: 1) Student ability to engage in content using the skills of investigation design and analysis, argument construction and evaluation will take place at the end of each semester in the form a laboratory final exam. This is a standard assessment for the laboratory course. 2) The Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey will be used as pretestposttest of student attitudes. The CURE survey is an experimentally validated instrument developed under IRB protocols at Grinnell College. 3) Additional questions that could be used for peer evaluation: 1. What is meant by a claim in science? 2. What counts as evidence in science? 3. What distinguishes data from evidence in a scientific argument? 4. What counts as a good justification of evidence in science? 5. Is it possible to have alternative claims or explanations? 5

6 East Carolina University TEACHING GRANTS COMMITTEE Budget for a 2016/2017 Teaching Grant (Complete if applicable) Item Funding Requested *Funds from Other Sources a) Honoraria $ $ b) Educational/Research Supplies $ $ c) Travel Expenses - Registration fees $ $ Travel Expenses - other $ $ d) Communication - Telephone $ $ Communication - Postage/mail $ $ e) Printing $ $ f) Other Services $ $ (engraving, ads, food, services) g) Equipment - under $ $ $ Equipment - over $ TOTAL $ $ $ $ Student wages are not an allowable expense. Projects expenses are subject to funding availability. *Identify Other Funding Sources: 6

7 Item 6: Budget Justification Whiteboards: ADI uses whiteboards for the argumentation session. Sturdy, light weight boards are available commercially that are 24 x 36 with a handle. Research has shown these to be ideal for presenting evidence based claims for the argumentation session. Each lab section will require 1 board per group, so 12 boards per lab and there are three (3) laboratory rooms, for a total of 36 boards needed. Vender: DiMac Designs Classroom Whiteboard with Handle (24x26) $ $ Shipping FedEx Ground $ Total $

8 Item 7: Appendices. a) CHEM 1150, General Chemistry I at ECU From I taught the following courses at the Community College and University Level. General Chemistry I and II General Chemistry Laboratory I and II Organic Chemistry I and II Organic Chemistry Laboratory I and II Allied Health Chemistry Scholarly Interests: My current research program is focused on the impact of laboratory reform and the inclusion of argumentation into science curricula. I developed, implemented and conducted research on ADI at the community college level. This study represents a new context and different research instruments. The results of this study will be disseminated at relevant conferences and as published in education research journals. b) No other proposals c) No Consultants d) No flyer e) IRB has been submitted. ID: UMCIRB TITLE: Argument-Driven Inquire: Implementation and Research 8

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