Course Syllabus


CHM 594/480: Modeling Instruction in Chemistry I
June 7 to July 13, 2021 LIVE remote learning offered by Arizona State University

Instructor: Mitch Sweet. Peer co-leader: Justin Sheets


Zoom meetings 8:30 to 11 am MTWThF. No class on Monday, July 5.


Modeling Instruction in Chemistry I (3 credits)

Minimum content prerequisite: Two semesters of college chemistry for science majors (e.g., CHM 150 or 151 and CHM 152 at MCCCD)

Overview: This research-informed course addresses core concepts (first semester +) in chemistry from a model-centered perspective. A second course in alternating summers addresses 2nd semester and advanced chemistry.

Clientele: The course is valuable for in-service and preservice chemistry and physics teachers; chemistry graduate students who intend to teach college or high school; teachers who are preparing to take the Arizona chemistry certification test. It is useful for biology, earth science, and environmental science teachers and faculty, since chemistry is a foundation of these sciences and since ASU offers no comparable graduate disciplinary methods courses in these other sciences.


The course satisfies the Higher Learning Commission dual credit faculty expectations. A quote from page 5 of “Guidelines: Faculty Qualifications”: 

 “HLC also recognizes that dual credit faculty members who have obtained a Master of Education degree but not a master’s degree in a discipline such as English, Communications, History, Mathematics, etc., may have academic preparation to satisfy HLC’s expectations. In this context, the curricula of graduate degrees in the field of Education, when inclusive of graduate-level content in the discipline and methods courses that are specifically for the teaching of that discipline, satisfy HLC’s dual credit faculty expectations.”


CHM 594, Modeling Instruction in Chemistry I, is inclusive of graduate-level content in chemistry education research that forms the basis of a chemistry discipline and methods course that is specifically for the teaching of chemistry. It is included in the ASU Master of Natural Science (MNS) degree, an interdisciplinary terminal science education degree for high school and two-year-college teachers of chemistry and physics (often the same person, especially in rural schools).



  1. Objectives: The emphasis is on methods for helping students to learn concepts in chemistry from the perspective of systematically developed particle models for matter. The course incorporates up-to-date results of chemistry education research, best practice curriculum materials, use of technology, and experience in collaborative learning and guided inquiry. Instructional strategies include a coherent approach to the role of energy in physical and chemical change.
  2. Plan and rationale: Participants are introduced to principles of Modeling Instruction, and then learn how organizing a chemistry course around a series of particle models of increasing complexity can make the experience more coherent to students. They are given tested instructional materials for the nine units that we consider the core of a 1styear chemistry course, and they work through activities alternately in roles of student or teacher. They practice Socratic questioning techniques needed to promote meaningful classroom discourse. Teachers are immersed in studying core chemistry content of the entire course to develop a deep understanding of content and how to teach it effectively. To these ends, they read, discuss, and reflect on related chemistry education research articles. Altogether, the course provides a detailed implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.
  3. Description of the units (major topics in bold. Suggested topics below each major topic.)

I    Particulate structure of matter

      Macroscopic vs microscopic descriptions. compounds, elements and mixtures.

      Explanation of (observed) macroscopic properties using microscopic models.

      Systematic explanation of details with models of increasing complexity.

      Macroscopic evidence for microscopic structure (ionic vs molecular substances).

II   Energy and Kinetic Molecular Theory 

      Visualizable models (macroscopic analogs) for solids, liquids and gases.

      Energy storage modes and transfer mechanisms.

      Role of energy in phase change.

      Distinction between heat and temperature.

III Stoichiometry

      The mole concept – relating how much to how many.

      Using equations to represent chemical change.

      Non-algorithmic approaches to chemical calculations.

IV Energy and chemical change

      Attractions vs chemical bonds.

      Chemical energy, thermal energy and ∆H.          

V Naēve conceptions about matter and interactions


STUDENT LEARNING GOALS: At successful completion of this course, students will have

LISTING OF ASSIGNMENTS: The face-to-face course meets for ~90 hours (studio format) in summer, and ABOR policy requires you to do at least 30 hours of work outside of class, including reading, worksheets, lab reports, and writing. Assignments are listed in the course itinerary/calendar; their links to student learning outcomes are evident in the itinerary.



  1. Attendance:

You are expected to attend all days of this course.  If you miss more than 1/10 of the contact hours, your maximum grade will be a B; if more than 3/15th of the contact hours, you may earn no higher than a C (exception for jury duty).  Please be on time and ready to go!  If you must miss a class or will be late, please email the instructors as soon as you can.

 Grading policy:

     All participants, whether seeking ASU credit or not, are expected to do activities, homework, readings and discussions, and daily reflections for a “C” grade. (Non-credit participants should email the instructor, specifying which days they intend to participate, at the start of the course.) Participants taking the course for non-credit are earning CEU’s along with clock hours towards recertification.  ASU expects you to complete and submit all assignments at a satisfactory level in order to receive the CEU’s, even though you are not receiving a grade.

     Students seeking ASU credit will take three exams during the course of the class. Each exam problem has a scoring rubric of 0 – 2 points. Students who complete all of the “C” work described as above and have an average score on the exams of 1.5 – 2.0 will earn an A for the class. Students with an average score on the exams of 1.0 – 1.5 will earn a B for the class. An average score of less than 1.0 will earn a “C”.

Teachers have found this notebook to be a valuable resource as they use the curricular materials in their own classes. Consequently, you are expected to record notes pertaining to everything that we do.  When you return to your own classroom and do the labs and activities, you are not going to remember many of the details that came out in discussions and activities.  Place them in your notebook as you work.  For all labs you are to record notes from the pre-lab discussion, record and evaluate data (include any graphs you make) and summarize the findings of the “class” in your lab notebook.  (Summarize means write the relationship, the equation if applicable, the general equation and what the slope represents).  Write down notes that will help you when you are doing the lab with your students.  Most teachers benefit by writing down good questions asked during whiteboarding sessions.  Take notes on demonstrations and the concept they are meant to illustrate. Your attention to these details while you are present in class will be evident during the online class sessions and in your level of participation in the asynchronous discussions.         

Arizona Board of Regents and ASU policies:

 Academic dishonesty policy:

Academic honesty is expected of all students in all examinations, papers, laboratory work, academic transactions and records. The possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, appropriate grade penalties, course failure (indicated on the transcript as a grade of E), course failure due to academic dishonesty (indicated on the transcript as a grade of XE), loss of registration privileges, disqualification and dismissal.  For more information, see   

Disability policy:

Qualified students with disabilities who require disability accommodations in this course are encouraged to make their requests to the instructor on the first class day or before. Note: Prior to receiving disability accommodations, verification of eligibility from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) is required. Disability information is confidential.

Grade Appeals:

Grade disputes must first be addressed by discussing the situation with the instructor. If the dispute is not resolved with the instructor, the student may appeal to the department chair per the University Policy for Student Appeal Procedures on Grades.

Student Conduct and Academic Integrity:

Academic honesty is expected of all students in all examinations, papers, laboratory work, academic transactions and records. The possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, appropriate grade penalties, course failure (indicated on the transcript as a grade of E), course failure due to academic dishonesty (indicated on the transcript as a grade of XE), loss of registration privileges, disqualification and dismissal. For more information, see Additionally, required behavior standards are listed in the Student Code of Conduct and Student Disciplinary Procedures, Computer, Internet, and Electronic Communications policy, and outlined by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities. Anyone in violation of these policies is subject to sanctions.
Students are entitled to receive instruction free from interference by other members of the class. An instructor may withdraw a student from the course when the student's behavior disrupts the educational process per Instructor Withdrawal of a Student for Disruptive Classroom Behavior.
The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities accepts incident reports from students, faculty, staff, or other persons who believe that a student or a student organization may have violated the Student Code of Conduct.

Prohibition of Commercial Note Taking Services:

In accordance with ACD 304-06 Commercial Note Taking Services, written permission must be secured from the official instructor of the class in order to sell the instructor's oral communication in the form of notes. Notes must have the notetaker's name as well as the instructor's name, the course number, and the date.

Syllabus Disclaimer:

The syllabus is a statement of intent and serves as an implicit agreement between the instructor and the student. Every effort will be made to avoid changing the course schedule but the possibility exists that unforeseen events will make syllabus changes necessary. Please remember to check your ASU email and the course site often.

Accessibility Statement:

In compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADAAA) of 2008, professional disability specialists and support staff at the Disability Resource Center (DRC) facilitate a comprehensive range of academic support services and accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.
Qualified students with disabilities may be eligible to receive academic support services and accommodations. Eligibility is based on qualifying disability documentation and assessment of individual need. Students who believe they have a current and essential need for disability accommodations are responsible for requesting accommodations and providing qualifying documentation to the DRC. Every effort is made to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.
Qualified students who wish to request an accommodation for a disability should contact the DRC by going to, calling (480) 965-1234 or emailing To speak with a specific office, please use the following information:

ASU Online and Downtown Phoenix Campus 
University Center Building, Suite 160
602-496-4321 (Voice)

Polytechnic Campus
480-727-1165 (Voice)

West Campus
University Center Building (UCB), Room 130
602-543-8145 (Voice)

Tempe Campus
480-965-1234 (Voice)

Title IX:

Title IX is a federal law that provides that no person be excluded on the basis of sex from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity. Both Title IX and university policy make clear that sexual violence and harassment based on sex is prohibited. An individual who believes they have been subjected to sexual violence or harassed on the basis of sex can seek support, including counseling and academic support, from the university. If you or someone you know has been harassed on the basis of sex or sexually assaulted, you can find information and resources at 

As a mandated reporter, course instructors are obligated to report any information we become aware of , regarding alleged acts of sexual discrimination, including sexual violence and dating violence. ASU Counseling Services,, is available if you wish to discuss any concerns confidentially and privately.



No textbook.

Course materials (June 2021): First-time participants can buy an AMTA membership for only $25 by the first day of their workshop, and they will have immediate access to downloadable materials. Returning workshop participants will get a discount on membership renewal, paying only $50 on or before the first day instead of the regular $75.

     An ASU alumnus in chemistry donated funds to buy & mail a Vernier temperature probe and gas pressure probe to teachers who have no other way of getting them. If you can bring home these two probes, a 50-ml graduated cylinder, & glass beakers, tell .

     Please buy a bound lab notebook. A 9” x 12” quad-ruled computation notebook works well. This size will allow you to easily tape or paste in data you collect and graphs you produce from labs you perform during the workshop, as well as your reflections on activities and readings assigned during the workshop.


Suggested resources and readings (prior to the course):

1) These 3 articles at the ASU Modeling legacy website:  

-- Modeling Instruction: An Effective Model for Science Education, J. Jackson, L. Dukerich, D. Hestenes, Science Educator, Spring 2008;

-- Cognitive Resources for Understanding Energy, Gregg Swackhamer

Unpublished (2003)

-- Modeling instruction article (the “Jazz Approach”) by a physics teacher, David Braunschweig:

2) Any of the CHEM-Study high school curricula, e.g.

Chemistry; J Dudley Herron, David Frank, et al, D.C. Heath 1993 ISBN 0-669-20367-X

Chemistry: Experimental Foundations (3rd ed). Robert W. Parry, Herb Bassow, Phyliss Merrill, and Robert L. Tellefsen. Prentice Hall, 1982. ISBN 0-13-129254-4.


REQUIRED COURSE READINGS: (Weblinks to articles are provided during class.)

Great Ideas of Chemistry.  Ronald Gillespie. J Chem Ed 74 (7) July 1997

Wherefore a Science of Teaching?, David Hestenes. The Physics Teacher, April 1979

Whiteboarding and Socratic dialogues: Questions and answers. Carl Wenning. JPTEO 3(1), September 2005, pp.3-10. (Download in pdf at at bottom of that webpage.)

Chemistry Education: Ten Dichotomies We Live By. Vicente Talanquer. J Chem Ed 89 (8) August 2012

Improving Teaching and Learning through Chemistry Education Research: A Look to the Future. Dorothy Gabel.  J Chem Ed 76 (4) April 1999

Applying Modeling Instruction to High School Chemistry To Improve Students’ Conceptual Understanding, Larry Dukerich. J Chem Ed 92 (8) August 2015

Finding No Evidence for Learning Styles. Stacey Lowery Bretz. J Chem Ed 94 (7) July 2017

Exothermic Bond Breaking: A Persistent Misconception, W Galley, J Chem Ed 81 (4) April 2004

An Overview of Recent Research on Multiple Representations. David Rosengrant, Eugenia Etkina, & Alan Van Heuvelen. 2006 Physics Education Research Conference, Syracuse, NY. AIP Conference Proceedings, 149-152.

Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom. Louis Deslauriers, Logan S. McCarty, Kelly Miller, Kristina Callaghan, and Greg Kestin. PNAS September 24, 2019 116 (39) 19251-19257