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Interdisciplinary Applications for the General Chemistry Laboratory
This series of Web-based tutorials, enriched by graphics and animations, helps students explore the many ways in which chemical concepts apply to topics in biology, engineering, and other scientific disciplines. Each tutorial, which begins with a list of key concepts, shows how the topic relates to students’ everyday lives and teaches the relevant chemical principles in the context of the application. Four of the tutorials deal with blood chemistry, building upon one another to help students understand the physiological as well as the chemical processes that occur in the blood during the body's daily activities. Other tutorials, such as “Improving Air Quality with Electric Vehicles” and "Phase Changes and Refrigeration: Thermochemistry of Heat Engines," have engineering and environmental applications. The tutorials allow students to see molecules three-dimensionally, using Chime or RasMol, software for viewing molecular structures. They also contain QuickTime movies, lists of additional links, and references for further reading. The tutorials were designed to be an essential component of the General Chemistry Laboratory course at Washington University in St. Louis, but they can be used in a variety of ways, such as for homework or extra-credit assignments, to augment any general chemistry curriculum.
Program Director: Kathryn Gail Miller, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Summary: Washington University is a private research university in Saint Louis, Missouri. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- New and enhanced science courses to provide opportunities for students to more actively engage in the research process within lecture and laboratory courses that investigate real research problems;
- A summer undergraduate research fellowships program that gives students opportunities to work in University faculty labs;
- Training programs for K-8 teachers in various science topics and a summer research internship program for high school teachers;
- Web-based tutorials that are rich in interdisciplinary applications; and
- Partnerships with high school teachers that created a widely used textbook, Modern Genetics for All Students, and, more recently, curricular supplements for agricultural biotechnology and genomics.