Hands-on Chemistry Learning in 3.091
Prof Jeff Grossman teaches 3.091, Introduction to Solid State Chemistry, and uses take-home mini-experiments to give students an opportunity to “touch and feel” the chemistry. Because 3.091 is a lecture course with no lab component, the take-home experiments offer discovery based learning similar to a lab but without requiring additional space or staff. "Goodie Bags", as they are known, are an integral part of 3.091, an MIT GIR that explores chemistry on an electronic and atomic level.
A typical goodie bag would include a group of materials that comprise a self-contained experiment. For example, several metal strips, a measuring device and vinegar are all that's needed to duplicate the methods that early chemists used to identify and distinguish different metals.
In addition to goodie bags, Grossman devotes 4-5 minutes of each lecture explaining how the material and concepts that the students are learning have relevance and meaning with real-life applications and implications.
These strategies are activate student engagement and support student comprehension.
To learn more listen to Prof Grossman's podcast on OCW's Chalk Radio.