At the point you are about to teach [H+] and [OH-] in strong acid and base solutions, here’s an experiment you might try that takes only 10 minutes of class time — and may yield interesting results.

Cognitive science advises that, when teaching how to solve chem *calculations*,

- if
*before*a new topic is started, students are given review of*just*the*number*-math encountered in topic problems, and - if that practice uses
*simple*numbers that students can solve by mental arithmetic,

when the chem component is added, both the math operations and chemistry will be learned more quickly — and better retained.

In practice, with real students, might science be right?

As an experiment, at https://www.ChemReview.Net/ABMathToInstructors.pdf is an assignment that teaches students the math of calculating [H+] and [OH-] in acidic and basic solutions — with*out* a calculator — as a *homework* assignment.

The homework provides worked out answers. For instructors, quiz questions *and* citations on the cognitive science are included.

It’s an experiment in the science of learning that may help us learn how students can better learn and retain chem – and it requires only 2 minutes of class time. Worth a try?

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