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Book Review of Introductory Chemistry:: An Active Learning Approach, 4th Edition

    1. [1] Collin College

      Collin College

      Estados Unidos

  • Localización: Journal of chemical education, ISSN 0021-9584, Vol. 87, Nº 5 (May), 2010, págs. 479-479
  • Idioma: inglés
  • Es reseña de:

    • Introductory Chemistry:: An Active Learning Approach

      Mark S. Cracolice, Edward I. Peters


  • Texto completo no disponible (Saber más ...)
  • Resumen
    • Introductory Chemistry: An Active Learning Approach, 4th Edition by Mark S. Cracolice and Edward I. Peters.

      Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning: Belmont, CA, 2011. 784 pp.

      ISBN: 978-0495558545. $117.50 reviewed by Amina Khalifa El-Ashmawy There are fewer introductory chemistry textbooks than general-organic-biochemistry (GOB) textbooks on the market.

      In the world of introductory chemistry textbooks, the fourth edition of Introductory Chemistry by Cracolice and Peters has some interesting and distinguishing features. The first thing I noticed about the book is the soccer ball on the cover. I wondered whether this was intended to connect with today's soccer moms, dads, and kids, or possibly to buckyballs or, perhaps, to both. The next thing I noticed was the lack of a periodic table inside the front cover; it is in the back of the book. Other prominent features of note are the die-cut note cards listing procedures for “How to Work an Active Example” as well as the labeled Post-It flags inside the front cover. There are five different flags that require the student to tab places in the book where there is important information, possible online resources, key formulas, and information that they do not understand. There are also flags that are not labeled, allowing students to use them as they wish.

      Because Peters passed away in 2006 and did not have an active role in this edition, I will address my comments with respect to a single author. The author's goals are to help students “deal with three common problems: developing good learning skills, overcoming a weak background in mathematics, and overcoming difficulties in reading scientific material” (1, p xxiii).

      He tackles these goals in several ways. First, he actually incorporates in the first chapter three sections introducing active learning. Although these sections were included in the third edition, the section on Learning How To Learn Chemistry has been considerably enhanced. These sections address time commitment, effective studying tips, use of resources, and how the book is designed to enhance student learning. The activelearning aspect is further supported by end-of-chapter sections such as Small-Group Discussion Questions, and Study Hints and Pitfalls To Avoid. You hardly go a page without having either an Active Learning or Thinking about Your Thinking exercise.

      Although not unique to either this text or this edition, Cracolice periodically uses “Thinking about Your Thinking” exercises that carry the students through the construction of mental models in a step-by-step process. The presentation is concise with good use of art and graphics showing particulate matter throughout. The in-chapter vignettes are relevant and interesting. The vignette in Chapter 12, for example, ties back to the soccer ball on the cover, showing it next to a model of a Buckminsterfullerene molecule, as some readers may have anticipated at the start.

      New to this edition are Small-Group Discussion Questions, and Portable Content Cards. The cards are perforated cardstock pages at the end of the book that summarize each chapter with chapter goals, key concepts, and chapter testwith answers included.

      Their purpose is to allow the student to preview and review each chapter. The Active Example note cards are designed to have the student cut out the note card fromthe front of the book to hide the answerwhile working the problemin the space provided in the book. I wonder about the impact of this feature on the usedtextbook market for this title. This feature, if used as designed, might prove to be useful, provided students read the book.

      The order of topics is a bit different from other introductory books. Gases are first covered in Chapter 4, just after measurements and before atomic theory. Yet, gases are covered again in Chapter 14 and continued in Chapter 15 with Dalton's law. The author's intent is to provide flexibility to the instructors as to how and when they cover specific topics. Several topics are covered in multiple chapters, including atomic theory, redox reactions, and compounds and bonding. Organic chemistry is introduced as the latter half of Chapter 13, but the instructor has the option of covering it earlier in the semester. Chapter 21 is dedicated in total to organic chemistry, and Chapter 22 introduces biochemistry.

      I have some questions for the community at large. Is the purpose of an introduction to chemistry course the same at all institutions? How many general chemistry courses include biochemistry? Finally, how many students who take the introduction to chemistry course actually end up taking general chemistry? The dilemma faced at many institutions (particularly twoyear colleges) is that they can offer only one introductory-level course. Such a course serves several populations: students who need to take the course in preparation for general chemistry;

      those who must have an introductory course for allied health majors; and those who take it to satisfy a lab science core curriculum requirement. If a department decides to use a book like Cracolice's fourth edition, although a good book with the active learning approach, two of the three populations mentioned above will not be well served.

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