Dabrowski and McManamy publish in leading chemical education journal

A. L. Hook Emerging Professor in Science and Mathematics, Jen Dabrowski and Lecturer in Chemistry Mary McManamy co-author an article in the Journal of Chemical Education

How do we engage students in science? While scientists place high value on the scientific method, its relevance to everyday life is often opaque to nonscientists. A. L. Hook Emerging Professor in Science and Mathematics Jen Dabrowski and Lecturer in Chemistry Mary McManamy work to change that through Culinary Transformations, a non-laboratory science course. Here, students explore the chemistry behind food and cooking and conduct a group project – a recipe modification using the scientific method.

Jen Dabrowski, left, and Mary McManamy

Dabrowski and McManamy’s recently published Journal of Chemical Education article “Recipe Modification as a Means of Learning and Applying the Scientific Method” investigates the framework for teaching and assessing this approach. Student learning was assessed through both presentation and exam formats for application and comprehension, respectively, with evaluation of student proficiency being measured by a series of assessment administrators including instructors, peers, self, and a panel consisting of Elon chemistry faculty.

Data from this study suggest that a group project consisting of designing, performing, and communicating the scientific method through the modification of a recipe is an effective means of increasing student comprehension and their ability to apply the scientific method. This was true across both the one-month January term and the full-semester course formats. Notably, this work also highlights the importance of recognizing and acknowledging that differences in assessment methods can influence the perceived performance of students from different grade levels in project-based learning assignments.

“The Journal of Chemical Education is the official journal of the Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society, co-published with the American Chemical Society Publications Division. Launched in 1924, the Journal of Chemical Education is the world’s premier chemical education journal. The Journal publishes peer-reviewed articles and related information as a resource to those in the field of chemical education and to those institutions that serve them. JCE typically addresses chemical content, activities, laboratory experiments, instructional methods, and pedagogies. The Journal serves as a means of communication among people across the world who are interested in the teaching and learning of chemistry. This includes instructors of chemistry from middle school through graduate school, professional staff who support these teaching activities, as well as some scientists in commerce, industry, and government.” – Journal of Chemical Education. https://pubs.acs.org/page/jceda8/about.html (accessed March 31, 2021).