On February 15th, the Department’s Science Education Specialist Dr. Jeanette Leeuwner presented an overview of UBC’s new CHEM 100 course, Foundations of Chemistry. CHEM 100 was created to prepare students for first-year chemistry (CHEM 121 and 123) at UBC. Students without Grade 12 chemistry (or equivalent) write the Chemistry Basic Skills Test (BST) and are placed into CHEM 100 or CHEM 111 depending on their results. CHEM 100 covers topics such as atomic and molecular properties, nomenclature, chemical reactions, the periodic table, bonding and intermolecular forces, acids and bases, and equilibrium.
Students in CHEM 100 have a wide variation in their chemistry backgrounds, which makes designing instruction a challenge. To address this challenge, Jeanette used Pearson’s Mastering Chemistry online homework software to provide students with ample practice and feedback. A variety of group and other active learning activities were also incorporated in class to give students immediate feedback on their progress and understanding. In the future, the impact of CHEM 100 on subsequent chemistry courses will be evaluated.