Reading Recs

The following are readings we would recommend for chemistry instructors who would like to explore how cognitive science can help us guide students in learning.

1.   Cognition:    Two articles and two books on how the student brain solves problems:

    • Clark:  The Human Brain – Learning 101: ”  A 4-page summary of research in cognition, on pages 8-11 of Putting Students on the Path to Learning at  Brain.
    • NMAP:  On math (but applies to chemistry, too):  Pages 4-xi and 4-2 to 4-10  in The Report of the Task Group on Learning Processes in the Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008) at  NMAP .
    • Willingham:  For summer reading, Why Don’t Students Like School by cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham is a 240 page paperback for under $20.
    • Make It Stick:  The book Make It Stick describes the importance of memorization in student learning.   A review in the Chronicle of Higher Education is at  MakeItStick .

2.   Math computation:  Data on why the current generation has such problems solving calculations in the sciences, and what we can do about it, is at  BCCEmath .

3.   Flipping Chemistry:  The paper at the link below explores how cognitive research can help instructors transfer more of lecture content to study time, to have more time in lecture for demonstrations, discussions, and problem solving.


4.   Comprehension:  A superb short paperback on reading comprehension (key to improving the efficiency of student self-study) is The Knowledge Deficit by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

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