Chemistry students in Israel have two options for studying chemistry: basic or honors (advanced placement). For instruction in high school honors chemistry courses, we developed a module focusing on abstract topics in quantum mechanics: Chemistry-From the Nanoscale to Microelectronics. The module adopts a visual-conceptual approach, which replaces mathematical derivations and includes interdisciplinary, real-life applications. The module has also been used as enrichment material for an undergraduate mathematically oriented quantum chemistry course. We assessed the comprehension of quantum mechanical concepts and the thinking skills of high school honors students and undergraduate chemistry students who studied this module. These skills included visual and textual chemical understanding, graphing, and far transfer of learning. Participants included over 100 high school honors students in high and intermediate levels, and over 60 undergraduate students, with students separated into groups of those exposed to the module and those who received mathematics enrichment instead. The questionnaires revealed that both high school honors students and undergraduate students improved their scores. High-level academic students outperformed their undergraduate peers, and undergraduate students who had been exposed to the module outperformed undergraduates who had studied the topic with mathematical enrichment. The research contributes to the field of teaching quantum mechanics and thinking skills, suggesting that high school honors students and undergraduate students could benefit from studying quantum mechanics using a visual-conceptual approach along with real-life applications. This contribution is part of a special issue on teaching introductory chemistry in the context of the advanced placement (AP) chemistry course redesign.
- High School/Introductory Chemistry
- Quantum Chemistry
- Upper-Division Undergraduate
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