Chemistry/ Chemistry: I Like It, Self Study term paper 15194

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Chemistry is not my favorite subject. I think it seems funny to have a minor in chemistry when I don't even like chemistry, but it was sort of a package deal when I decided my biological science major. It not that I despise or hate chemistry, it's just that I have a ingrained fear of it. Chemistry is the only class that I've failed. I've never failed any class up until I failed my inorganic class my sophomore year. That class was unbearable and I really believe that it was partially the instructor's fault. She taught us one thing and we where tested over something else, she never showed up to her office hours, and when we had scheduled review sessions, she told the class that she would not go over the old material. She believe that she had already taught it once and that if we had questions we should look back in our notes and read our book. Besides she was foreign and had quite a thick Eastern European accent and she could be hard to understand. It seemed the more I studied the worse I did on tests and quizzes so by the end of the semester I gave up because it was hopeless. I would of had to get over %100 on my final to even come close to passing. At the end of the semester I found out that almost half of the class failed. I think that says something when there is that many students failing a class.

It has been three semesters since I took that class. I took one semester off from chemistry, and then retook that inorganic class this previous semester. Now I am back on tract and on my next phase of chemistry, "The Deep Fried World of Organic Chemistry".

The first day of class was a real eye opener.

"Organic Chemistry 251 is the biggest class I have ever been in! I'm guessing that there is about 400 people in this class. It would make sense that there would be this many people since this is the only one lecture time of 251 this semester. I had a hard time finding a seat. The seating capacity for this lecture hall is 438 people, and I think it almost at that capacity."(Self-study journal, Day 1)

The instructor begins class by introducing herself and by going over the syllabus. Her voice shocked me because she had the same Eastern European accent like my other instructor. I was like I was operant conditioned to dislike or fear chemistry instructors with that type of accent.

The instructor stand infront of the lecture hall and taps her microphone to cue us that she is ready and that we should stop talking and focus our attention on her. Cueing provides a stimulus that "sets up" a desired behavior(Woolfolk, p. 214). Our instructor began class by introducing herself and going over the syllabus. Our schedule of exams where on a fixed schedule, all the dates for the exams where pre-set. The quizzes where variable and unannounced. The instructor explained that this is so that students will keep up on their work instead of planning just to work before a quiz or test. The instructor stressed that we must put a lot of time in this class, approximately ten hours a week. Ten hours seems like a lot, but I am sure she knows how much it takes to get a good grade in this class.

I want to do well in this class so I thought of goals and way I am going to achieve those goals. My ultimate goal is to get a good grade 3.0 or better. Now to achieve that goal ultimate I must go to class, read my book, do my homework, find a study partner, and study. Going to class wasn't going to be hard because it was at 10:20 a.m. and I usually can get to class by that time. Reading my book was going to be a little harder. Reading a chemistry book isn't like ready a nice thick novel where you can read the words and keep going on. When I read a chemistry book I read the section, do the problems, re-read the section and then a quiz at the end to the section to see if I could remember it a do it. Doing my homework went along with reading the book. Using guidance from the book and performing task is self-instruction (Woolfolk, p. 235)

Finding a study partner was going to be a little harder, but I knew I would be able to find one. I just needed to find someone who was smart, devoted, and that personally could relate to and feel comfortable around.

"Today I met a student on the bus ride over that is in my organic class. It's about time I found someone that would like a study partner. I have been keeping my eyes open for someone who would be compatible. I am pretty happy that I might of found a study partner. I am going to need one to get me motivated to learn. So far I have been pretty lazy about studding. Maybe I can ask her about the stuff that I missed when I fell asleep last time."(Self-Study journal, Day-8)

My study partner and I get along very well, sometime I think too well because when we study it was hard not get off subject and find ourselves not doing chemistry anymore. But I really enjoy having someone bearing the class with me. My study partner and I use self-reinforcement when we study. Self-reinforcement provide myself with positive consequences, contingent on accomplishing a particular behavior (Woolfolk, p. 233). If we study well for a few hours and do well on the self-tests, we will allow ourselves to do something fun for a while, such as making something to eat or playing with her dog.

The chemistry instructor uses expository teaching, where the she presents material in complete, organized from, moving from the broadest to more specific concepts(Woolfolk, p. 341). My class begins with the instructor putting up an overhead and that has the list of topics that we are to cover that day. One the board she writes what we covered in the previous lecture. The instructor then will introduce a topic with a definition and then provide tome background information. The instructor will give specific examples and problems to do to solve. This is a fast way of giving information, but can lead to memorization rather than understanding as I have found myself doing at times.

There has been a few times when our instructor will give us a specific example and will demonstrate why a reaction works the way it does. She uses inductive reasoning which is based on knowledge of examples based on knowledge of examples and details (Woolfolk, p.338).

"Today we had a demo from another instructor. I remember this guy from high school. Our high school chem class came and watched him to a bunch of demos that would help spark some interest in chemistry. He did some neat stuff with polarized filters and explaining how different chemicals have different optic and chemically properties by just changing a position of one molecule. Pretty cool. This got me to wake up for this class. I think I am understanding this chapter better than the last." (Self-study journal, Day 10)

The types of knowledge used in organic chemistry can be put into a few categories; procedural knowledge, conditional knowledge, bottom-up processing, and top-down processing. Procedural knowledge is knowledge that is demonstrated when we perform a task; "knowing how"(Woolfolk, p. 249). "Knowing how" to draw organic molecules in the Newman projection is an example. Conditional knowledge is "knowing when and why" to use declarative and procedural knowledge (Woolfolk, p. 249). "Knowing when and why" to use single arrows instead of double arrows when drawing mechanisms of addition reaction and when to use Markovnicov rules, Anti-Markovicov, and the reasons why is an example of conditional knowledge. Bottom-up processing is based on noticing separate defining features and assembling them into a recognizable pattern. Being able to use the some of the same principle of drawing a organic structure all have some of the same features, such as ways to count carbons, open ended lines assume a methyl group, and so on, these separate defining feature can be used to draw a structure that can be named and properties of that structure can be defined. Top-down processing is based on the context and the patterns you expect to occur in that situation. Our instructor will use information that is already known by most of the students and try to relate it to new information. Using a common term such as benzene and then giving a new system of naming the structure by what it looks like, we can learn the patterns of the new naming system. Using the information that we know also affect what we are able to perceive.

Problem solving is used everyday in this class. Being able to draw structures from names, and being able to understand and draw mechanisms is name of the game in this class. When we are problem solving we must remember old material from inorganic chemistry and previously learned material from earlier chapters. Whenever something previously learned influences current learning or when solving and earlier problem affects how you solve a new probe, transfer has occurred (Woolfolk, p. 319).

Concepts are taught by examples and non-examples. First the instructor will put a few of example on the overhead and explain why they are correct answers and will have us try the problems. Then she will solve the problems and put down a wrong answer, and we are to tell her why that problem is wrong. The instructor will used defining attributes, distinctive feature shared by member of a category, such as a defining feature of a alkene is that it has only single bonds or sigma bonds and is saturated with hydrogens (Woolfolk, p. 289). This requires that the students recognize specific example by noting key required features.

When it came to studying for the first test, I used many learning strategies and memory strategies. Using mnemonics is a good way to remember words and how they relate to something else. I use phrases or a little song to remember things. An example of this is using "Z structure, Z Zame Zide". Also using organization, such as a list of rules to name structures make it easier than memorizing the thousand of molecules that could be formed. Over all the best way for me to learn something is actually doing lots of the problems repeatedly until it became second nature where I no longer had to think back on the list of rules or the mnemonics. Making things have meaning and being understood make the steps make sense.

My motivations for this class are to get a good grade so that I can move up to the next level and eventually graduate with a degree. The ultimate goal for me to get into vet school and become a doctor of veterinary medicine. This is just one of the building blocks to that goal. I am extrinsic motivated because my motivation are created by extrinsic factor like rewards and punishments (Woolfolk, p. 374). I don't think learning chemistry is fun or easy. I do it because my reward would be getting into vet school and the punishment would be not achieving that goal.

I am performance oriented because I don't really care if I totally understand everything of organic chemistry, I just want to seem competent or perform well in the eyes of others. Getting a 3.0 grade or above will make me look like I am competent in organic chemistry which will let me continue to the next level. My motive for the chemistry is to get through as best as I get.

Word Count: 1993


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