Despite Chemistry being all around us, we rarely consider our daily and intuitive interactions with Chemistry – from the air we breathe to the gasoline we use in our vehicles, to the medications we take, and to the kitchen products we use for cooking and cleaning. Chemistry influences every facet of our life, yet the prevailing societal ideas about Chemistry is that it is abstract, done by people in white coats and glasses, and does not go beyond a laboratory. For the introductory chemistry course at Fresno State, we are tackling such societal ideas by challenging our students to investigate chemical concepts in the real-world scenario of Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Students collect water samples from different aquatic environments including the Sealion Cove, the Stingray Bay, and the Otter exhibit, and investigate important characteristics of the water including the amount of salt, the buffer capacity, and the temperature, and their implications for each animal. Such an approach to teaching Chemistry has raised several important considerations about how we engage our students and we are interested in sharing and discussing these considerations with participants at Café Scientifique.
Dr. Donnelly is a chemical education researcher with a Ph.D. from the University of Limerick in Ireland. He has studied in Ireland, New Zealand, and Berkeley. He studies the impact of technology and teaching practices on student ownership and power in science classrooms.
Dr. Person is an applied chemist with a Ph.D. from the University of California San Francisco. He has a background in forensic and environmental chemistry and is currently interested in strategies for evaluating and scaffolding experimental design ability early in the chemistry curriculum.
Who: Drs. Dermot Donnelly and Eric Person, Department of Chemistry, Fresno State
When: May 6, 2019 at 7PM
Where: Santa Fe Basque, 3110 N Maroa Ave., Fresno, CA 93704