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Teaching Methods

Common Issues with quantitative analysis

Started almost 2 years ago by James Hammond.

I teach high school chemistry. A common issue I have observed over the last several years is a difficulty students experience when dealing with quantitative analysis and common computations. Specifically students exhibit frustrations with scientific notation and unit conversions. Every year I feel as if I spend more time teaching and reteaching these concepts. Do you as a chemistry teacher, observe the same issue and if so how do you address it?


  • James Hammond

    Posted over 1 year ago

    I do teach it but not as a formal component of the curriculum. It is more of a,"If you have a calculator," sort of thing.

  • Loreen Holstein

    Posted over 1 year ago

    At the beginning of the year, spending time on a measurement unit is a difficult task for students.  Therefore, incorporating activities such as a Law of Consevation of Mass laboratory and Size of an Atom laboratory are ways to incorporate the use of measurements and unit conversions into the first two units without having to drill and practice significant figures, scientific notation and unit conversions.    Otherwise, I agree students do become frustrated but this above method has worked. 

  • Frederick Schlick

    Posted over 1 year ago

    Hi James,
    It takes me 3-4 weeks to thoroughly cover my first unit of measurement which includes, rounding, significant figures, percent error, error analysis and little dimensional analysis. Plus, I teach the statistical method for rounding "5" , which seems to blown their mind. Scientific notation is not taught in math class in my district. It is frustrating to me.
    This is why I decided to teach specific heat, calorimtery and phase change diagrams as my second unit. I don't like how most textbooks follow with matter or atomic theory after I spent all that time with measurement.
    Do you also need to teach your students how to do scientific notation on their calculators?