20 – An Acid-Base Math Review

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/pdfs/ABMathToInstructors.pdf  is an assignment that teaches students the math of calculating [H+] and [OH-] in acidic and basic solutions — without 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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