University Chemistry ›› 2022, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (2): 2109014.doi: 10.3866/PKU.DXHX202109014

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More Than an Armchair Strategist: A Case Study on Teaching Second-Year Undergraduates How to Connect Fundamental Principles and the Literatures to Experimental Design and Optimization in Organic Chemistry Laboratory Courses

Lingling Li, Quan Lan, Yuan Zheng, Jun Jiang, Zhenggen Zha()   

  • Received:2021-09-03 Accepted:2021-10-13 Published:2021-11-11
  • Contact: Zhenggen Zha


Chemistry degrees should provide effective preparation and education for scientific professionals. Specifically, this accreditation highlights the importance of experimental planning and design skills. We embedded such activities in the organic chemistry laboratory course and developed an effective approach specifically for second-year undergraduates. Herein, we present a workshop utilizing the synthesis of acetylferrocene, aiming to teach students how to apply fundamental principles and literatures to plan and design a series of experiments. In this workshop, we used student-centered, guided, and inquiry-based research projects. Students were required to address a series of research questions or problems on the design and synthesis of acetylferrocene using both fundamental principles and literatures. Skepticism was highly valued and students were encouraged to design and perform control experiments to test their hypotheses, contradictory to those in the textbook. This activity is expected to provide a creative platform for second-year undergraduates to develop enhanced skills necessary to become successful scientific professionals.

Key words: Acetylferrocene, Fundamental principles and literatures-based, Experimental design and optimization, Skepticism and verification, Course-based undergraduate research experience