I modified the Barb Reisner/Joanne Stewart/Maggie Geselbracht First Day TOC activity (https://www.ionicviper.org/class-activity/introducing-inorganic-chemist…) to take advantage of the quarterly list of Top 10 Most Read articles that IC sends out. This is delivered to me as an email from ACS pubs and I am sure that it is available to anyone who wished to subscribe to the updates. I have attached a pdf copy of the August 2013 update as an example. ACS also keeps a running (monthly) list of the top 20 most accessed articles on the website for IC (http://pubs.acs.org/action/showMostReadArticles?journalCode=inocaj) which could be used in a similar way.
This change (away from a complete TOC) provides a smaller list of possible articles for the students to look through covering what are the most exciting new developments in the field.
I have also modified the question list to get at something I am very interested in personally: the interdisciplinarity of Inorganic Chemistry. I did this using the last question about the techniques used in the paper of their choice and the discipline (Physical, analytical, organic. etc) with which they normally associate those techniques.
- A student should be able to identify the various sub-disciplines of inorganic chemistry.
- A student should be able to discuss the interdisciplinarity of inorganic chemistry in light of the papers reported quarterly in the Top 10 IC articles
I had the students work in pairs to brainstorm and then choose an article that mutually interested them. I had asked the students to bring electronic devices to class on the day of the activity. As it turned out, the discussion went long and I sent them home to answer the last two questions, which made it even easier for them to look at pics and abstracts on the web.
This is my first day activity, so its true purpose is a warm-up. I want to get the students talking in class, and talking about inorgainc chemistry.
I had to lead the students more than expected on the sub-disciplines question. When it became apparent that they did not understand the question, I modelled what I wanted them to do by characterizing PChem in the same way.
The students turned in the last three questions in the next class period.
Selected comments from student responses:
Re: unexpected topics and themes
- studies of carbon based molecules
- C-C bond formation
- a high emphasis on biological processes/molecules
Re: graphical images
- "I think the images helped my understanding of the paper and made it more interesting to me"
- "There was an image of a somewhat playful grid of brightly colored locks and keys. This makes me believe the information might be easy to digest. On the other hand, I feel like it might be oversimplified and it might be leaving out some important information." (from the mouths of babes...)
- "the way in which the panels are presented by making them the shape of leaves... made me think of the idea of 'going green'"
- "The multiple use of amines, which I know as organic molecules"
- "I would expect spectrocopy to be used in several disciplines, including orgainc, analyitical and inorganic"