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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE September 27, 2008. Christa L. Colyer. WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY Winston-Salem NC. THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT. The “Typical” Research Paper :. THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT.

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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCESeptember 27, 2008

Christa L. Colyer

WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY Winston-Salem NC


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

The “Typical” Research Paper :


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

Traditional research paper vs. “Mini Research Project”

Common goals:

Mini Research Project goals:


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

> Syllabus

>> Assignment

>>> Scheduling & Topics

>>>> Focused readings

>>>>> Focus questions

>>>>> Assessment


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

> Syllabus

>> Assignment

>>> Scheduling & Topics

>>>> Focused readings

>>>>> Focus questions

>>>>> Assessment


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example: The Mini Research Project


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example: The Mini Research Project

Learning Objectives

CHM 108, Summer I, Worrell House, 2007 (Colyer)

Unit I: The Fundamentals – Origin of matter, chemical elements, atomic & molecular structure, nuclear chemistry.

1.1. Define and differentiate between isotope and radioisotope, and understand the significance of mass numbers and atomic numbers and their relationship to subatomic particles. Also, be able to define transmutation and induced radioactivity.

1.2. Understand the fundamental origins of matter according to the Big Bang, beginning with hydrogen fusion in stars.

1.3. Define and differentiate between fusion and fission, and be able to provide examples of each type of reaction.

1.4. Be able to write balanced equations illustrating various types of radioactive decay, including  and  decay and  radiation.

1.5. Know the relative penetration power of ,, and  radiation, and recognize these as various forms of ionizing radiation.

1.6. Understand the concept of the half life of a radioactive element……

Unit II: Medicinal Chemistry.

2.1. Know that atoms bond together to form molecules by sharing electrons to form chemical bonds, and that the order in which atoms bond together and the overall structure of the resulting molecule determines its functionality and many other physical properties.

2.2. Define “drug” and understand the drug classification system, including safety, social acceptability, origin, and biological activity.

2.3. Describe modern drug synthesis methods, such as the lock-and-key model, natural product drug discovery, and combinatorial chemistry.

2.4. Define “chemotherapy,” and recognize different disease causing agents, including bacteria, viruses, and cancer.

2.5. Know about the discovery of penicillin by Fleming in 1929, and understand the implications of this drug for human health. Also, know the basic mode of action of penicillin against bacteria.

2.6. Differentiate between nucleoside derivatives and protease inhibitors as potential antiviral compounds.

Unit III: Biological Chemistry & Biotechnology.

3.1. Understand and describe the structure of DNA and be able to identify its basic building blocks.

3.2. Discuss the process of discovering the structure of DNA, including the roles of key players such as Watson, Crick, Franklin, and Wilkins.

3.3. Understand the function of the human genome, DNA, genes, chromosomes, and codons.

3.4. Be able to describe what “recombinant DNA” is, and the process by which it is created. Also, define the roles of plasmid DNA and the resulting “vector.”

3.5. Be able to describe what a “transgenic organism” is and what “gene therapy” is.

3.6. Define PCR (polymerase chain reaction), and explain its function and the process by which it is conducted.

3.7. Differentiate between cloning, in vitro fertilization, genetic engineering, and recombinant DNA.

Unit IV: Atmospheric & Environmental Chemistry.

4.1. Recognize ozone, and differentiate this from molecular and atomic oxygen, and know the function of ozone in the stratosphere.

4.2. Explain the function of ozone in the atmosphere.

4.3. When provided with chemical equations constituting the four steps of the Chapman Cycle, be able to explain their significance, particularly with respect to protection of the earth from harmful UV radiation.

4.4. Know how ozone levels are measured, and know the typical units of measurement (Dobson Units). Also, know representative values for “normal” ozone levels.

4.5. Identify synthetic and natural sources of chemicals that act to destroy ozone, and be able to describe the process by which ozone destruction occurs. In particular, be able to discuss the impact of chlorine (and bromine) in the atmosphere on ozone levels.


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

> Syllabus

>> Assignment

>>> Scheduling & Topics

>>>> Focused readings

>>>>> Focus questions

>>>>> Assessment


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example: The Mini Research Project


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

> Syllabus

>> Assignment

>>> Scheduling & Topics

>>>> Focused readings

>>>>> Focus questions

>>>>> Assessment


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

> Syllabus

>> Assignment

>>> Scheduling & Topics

>>>> Focused readings

>>>>> Focus questions

>>>>> Assessment


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

Medicinal Chemistry Unit

Drugs Affecting the Nervous System:

1) Hallucinogens and cannabinoids – e.g. LSD and marijuana – discuss effect on neurons; chemical structures; illicit and medical usages.

Focus Question:

? Does the fact that LSD is a derivative of a natural product and marijuana is, itself, a natural product, affect users’ perceptions of the safety of these drugs, and should the law differentiate between natural products and synthetic drug molecules?


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

Medicinal Chemistry Unit

Principles of Vaccination:

1) Small pox and Edward Jenner

2) “Modern” vaccinations (e.g. Lyme disease, HPV)

Focus Question:

? What controversies surrounded Jenner’s smallpox vaccination and how do these resemble or differ from concerns about vaccinations today? What role does socioeconomic status, religion, geography and/or other factors play in the decision to vaccinate, and should governments be able to mandate vaccinations?


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

> Syllabus

>> Assignment

>>> Scheduling & Topics

>>>> Focused readings

>>>>> Focus questions

>>>>> Assessment



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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

CHM 108 Everyday Chemistry, Student Evaluation Form

Please complete the following evaluation form for each student presentation. Be as objective as possible in your evaluation and be as specific as you can in your comments. Students will receive a copy or summary of your anonymous comments.

Evaluator’s Name: ________________________________________

Presenter’s Name & Topic: ______________________________________________________________________

Evaluation Criteria:

1. Overall presentation style and presentation quality:

excellent very good good average below average

2. The presenter’s command of the subject matter and basic facts underlying his/her theme was:

excellent very good good average below average

3. The presenter’s ability to explain the significance of her/his theme, and its relevance to our other unit(s) of study was:

excellent very good good average below average

4. The presenter’s ability to facilitate discussion of his/her focus questions was:

excellent very good good average below average

5. Things the presenter did that were very particularly effective:

6. Things that might have improved the presentation:


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

Strategies for success:

▫ Provide “focus question” models early (and frequently) in regular lectures

▫ Provide very directed reading(s) for each mini research project

▫ Create schedule for all presentations at the outset of the class

▫ Invoke topical and current or “popular” project ideas

Options:

▫ Students can work in pairs or small teams

▫ “Themes” can involve lab work

▫ Theme topics can be selected by students or assigned from a list

▫ Can require readings of all students or just the presenter

▫ Suitable for freshman “general” classes to major/grad classes


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

Limitations or Challenges:

Traditional Research Paper

End-of-semester presentation block poses scheduling challenge (boredom?); grading challenge

Students don’t necessarily see interrelatedness of all subjects, and master only one subject

Mini Research Project

Requires instructor to find focused research resources for each topic

Schedule & topics must be established early in the semester (and must coincide with known in-class coverage)

Earlier presenters may be at a disadvantage?

Students not experienced in posing “focus questions” or leading discussion


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THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

Benefits or Advantages:

Traditional Research Paper

Opportunity for student to conduct in-depth research over time

Doesn’t require large investment of instructor’s time

Mini Research Project

More content coverage/exposure for all students

More clearly illustrates relevance of research papers to regular content

Forces students to identify key questions of importance

Breaks up class schedule for variety/interest

Spreads grading out throughout the semester



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