The Chemical Educator
ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)
Abstract Volume 15
(2010) pp 435-440
Why Such a Big Difference in Price? A Problem-Based Learning Approach to Determining Essential Oil Composition in Introductory Organic Chemistry
Juan Antonio Llorens Molina*, and Isidora Sanz Berzosa
Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica
Medio Natural, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera, s/n , edificio
3P, 46022, Valencia (España),: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Published: 22 December 2010
Abstract. While Problem Based Learning (PBL) has been a popular instructional strategy in higher education for many years, it may be a powerful tool to introduce active and student-centered learning strategies in conventional educational contexts as well. PBL activities provide the social and technological context to laboratory activities by relating them to students’ everyday experiences, thereby establishing more meaningful relationships with the subject matter. Additionally, PBL activities support the development of competencies such as planning and organization, location and selection of necessary outside information, communication and teamwork. Lastly, PBL has been shown to improve the student-teacher relationship. The PBL framework was applied to a traditional organic chemistry laboratory in which the composition of essential oils is determined. The key steps in the application of the framework and laboratory assessment tools are discussed.
Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; problem based learning; laboratory work; organic chemistry; science-technology-society-environment relationships
(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Supporting Materials:Initial activity: web-based task for students’ engagement in this PBL activity. Appendix 1: The inquiry process sequence (meetings’ contents). Appendix 2: Prelab online test which is associated to a learning object (named “Polimedia”). Appendix 3: Summative assessment. Rubrics and partial scores. Appendix 4: Survey to assess students’ perceptions about the PBL process (114 KB).