Molly Atkinson (postdoc)


joined the Bretz Group in January 2019

B.S. Chemistry, Piedmont College, 2012
Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Georgia, 2018

Students’ Reasoning with Reaction Coordinate Diagrams

Reaction coordinate diagrams (RCDs) simultaneously depict both thermodynamic and kinetic information. Previous research in our group has documented the challenges that organic chemistry students face when interpreting the surface features of RCDs and when trying to connect these features to reaction mechanisms. In this research project, semi-structured interviews were conducted with second-semester general chemistry students. The interviews explored students’ understandings regarding the information encoded in RCDs and the use of RCDs to explain mechanisms typically taught in general chemistry. Findings from the analysis of these interviews were used to create an assessment tool to quantitatively measure students’ thinking with RCDs. Data analysis from gen chem II students is underway, with plans to collect data from organic chemistry students at the end of the semester..

© 2019   Stacey Lowery Bretz   Miami University   Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry   Oxford, OH 45056   513.529.3731