Posts Tagged ‘education’

Green Chemistry Curriculum Designed to Inspire (Systems Design) – Rapid Fire Session

Organizers: Jane Wissinger, Professor of Chemistry, University of Minnesota; Alexey Leontyev, North Dakota State University;  Natalie O’Neil, Beyond Benign

This fast-paced and engaging symposium will provide educators of all levels (K-12, undergraduate, and graduate) with the opportunity to share their innovations and initiatives for incorporating green chemistry content in lecture, laboratory, and outreach. In particular, abstracts are welcome for those modeling the inclusion of green and sustainable chemistry metrics which illustrate a life cycle thinking approach to designing a chemical product and/or chemical process. Representative topics include the use of renewable feedstocks, greener synthetic methods, inorganic/enzymatic catalysts, and intended use and end-of-life considerations. Contributions of these methods to improving safety or understanding toxicology would be welcome. The rapid-fire session format will allow presenters seven minutes (with optional use of three minutes for content or questions) to engage the audience with a snapshot of their work and prompt audience participation. Each speaker will be encouraged to include at least one polling question. Speakers will be grouped into themes for panel discussions to create a forum for exchange of ideas and provide additional details according to the interest of the audience. More than one submission by an author will be allowed to in order to include a breadth of topics.

Undergraduate Context Session

Organizer: Reuben Hudson, College of the Atlantic; Julian Silverman

This session offers the opportunity for undergraduate students to contextualize their conference experience by direct engagement with a broad-topic panel discussion. Panelists will kick off the session with short talks designed to provide background and perspective in hopes of addressing general questions that students have gathered throughout the conference. This session is designed to provide a space for undergraduate students (or anyone else) to debrief their conference experience by interfacing with researchers from disciplines spanning catalysis, biomass conversion, systems thinking, solid phase chemistry, and more.

Re-imagining Chemistry Education: Systems Thinking, and Green and Sustainable Chemistry

Organizer: Thomas Holme, Iowa State University; Peter Mahaffy, Kings University

Recent publications challenge chemistry professionals to transform chemistry so that it addresses emerging global challenges. Common themes in these calls for transformation include the integration of systems thinking into the practice of chemistry and a wholesale reimagination of chemistry education to more effectively educate scientists and citizens to prepare them for their roles in a rapidly changing planet and society. This technical session will report on and guide efforts to reimagine chemistry education using novel systems thinking approaches throughout educational programs

Systems thinking emphasizes the interdependence of components of dynamic systems. In the context of chemistry, systems thinking moves beyond isolated consideration of reactions and processes to consider where materials come from, how they are transformed and used, and what happens at the end of their life span. It draws attention to a need to balance the benefits and impacts of chemical substances and the role they play in societal and environmental systems. Applied to STEM education, systems thinking describes approaches that move beyond fragmented and reductionist knowledge of disciplinary content to a more integrated and holistic understanding of the field. A framework for using systems thinking in chemistry education places learners at the center of a system of chemistry education, suggesting tools and approaches to help instructors and curriculum developers see interconnections among the different components that are part of the learning of chemistry. Teaching chemistry through a systems approach challenges students to apply scientific principles to solve real-world problems, demonstrates chemistry’s role as an essential science in finding solutions to global challenges, and prepares future scientists for the collaborative interdisciplinary work required

Elements of systems thinking have helped to drive developments in green and sustainable chemistry education. The successful application of the principles of green chemistry and engineering, the effective use of tools such as life-cycle analysis, and the development of novel molecular design strategies depends on considering the interconnectedness of reactions and processes with local and global systems. Building students’ capacity to integrate systems thinking into their chemistry problem-solving toolkit can yield new insights and create new opportunities for design and innovation. These strategies and approaches can help to stimulate and inspire further work and research more broadly within chemistry education in promoting and enhancing students’ systems thinking skills as well as a deeper and more interconnected understanding of chemistry and related disciplines as a whole.

This session will review and explore the scope and definition of systems thinking in chemistry education, as well as educational research and practice oriented by systems thinking approaches. It will also include a strong focus on the application of systems thinking to green and sustainable chemistry education and seeks to include interdisciplinary perspectives that can drive innovation in this area.

An Interactive Session on Moving from Context to Systems Thinking in Chemistry Education

Organizers: Thomas Holme, Iowa State University; Peter Mahaffy, Kings University

The concept of incorporating context to help motivate student interest in and learning of chemistry has a rich history. While there are efforts both in the US and internationally to develop chemistry curricula in terms of such context-based learning, these efforts have often been directed outside of the curriculum that students intending to become chemists take. In such major courses, such as General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, context still finds its way into the classroom, but it is arguably less broadly organized and therefore more strongly dependent on specific interests and specialties of individual instructors.

At the same time, recent efforts organized through the auspices of IUPAC have begun to call attention to the possibilities of enhancing student exposure to systems thinking within the chemistry curriculum. Systems thinking emphasizes the interdependence of components of dynamic systems. In the context of chemistry, systems thinking moves beyond isolated consideration of reactions and processes to consider where materials come from, how they are transformed and used, and what happens at the end of their life span. It draws attention to a need to balance the benefits and impacts of chemical substances and the role they play in societal and environmental systems. Applied to STEM education, systems thinking describes approaches that move beyond fragmented and reductionist knowledge of disciplinary content to a more integrated and holistic understanding of the field.

The expansion of context-based learning into systems thinking represents an important way to think about how students learn to use their chemistry knowledge. Significant advantages for the teaching and learning of green and sustainable chemistry is possible by such a merging of the two ideas for including content that extends chemistry beyond the classroom or the lab bench. This workshop is designed to allow participants to first identify ways in which they have incorporated context-based approaches in their own teaching. It will then present exemplars of how such contexts can be woven into a systems thinking approach, making use of systems visualization tools such as System-Oriented_Concept_Map-Extensions (SOCME), illustrating how to help students zoom out from the scope of what might be traditionally covered to see cross-cutting dimensions and interconnections with green chemistry and engineering approaches and broader societal and environmental considerations.. Finally, participants will have opportunity to work through exercises that connect prior experience with context-based learning to a larger system context.

Connecting Green Chemistry, Systems Thinking and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to the Undergraduate Chemistry Curriculum

Organizers: Edward Brush, Department of Chemistry, Bridgewater State University; Grace Lasker

The chemistry enterprise must play a central role in addressing the grand challenges of sustainability. This requires a paradigm shift in chemistry education by integrating and scaffolding green chemistry principles and systems thinking throughout the traditional undergraduate chemistry curriculum, including a multidisciplinary context provided through connections with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). There have been numerous concerted efforts to bring these topics into the chemistry curriculum through the: Green Chemistry Roadmap Project, ACS Exams Institute’s Anchoring Concept Content Maps, ACS-CPT Green Chemistry Supplement, IUPAC-STICE group, and Journal of Chemical Education Special Issue on Systems Thinking and Green and Sustainable Chemistry. It is now time for the chemistry education community to come together and leverage these remarkable efforts by outlining a chemistry curriculum that integrates and scaffolds systems thinking, green and sustainable chemistry and the UN SDGs throughout the chemistry curriculum, providing students with the skills and vision to contribute to a sustainable future through chemistry. This symposium will include a combination of invited and contributed talks and an imbedded workshop. The participants will be contributing to a paradigm shift in chemistry education by outlining draft learning goals, content and assessment for a 4-year curriculum that integrates and scaffolds green chemistry, systems thinking and the UN SDGs.