"Complex, realistic, conceptual, open-ended, vague and motivated! Concept Explorations can be used to enhance student conceptual understanding and problem solving abilities. They emphasize the multiple representations of processes (words, sketches, graphs, chemical equations) and encourage active participation of students. I think Concept Explorations perfectly match the author's goals. Concept Explorations are very suitable for small groups of students to solve together--would certainly promote the discussion! So I would definitely use them interactively in a recitation/study group format."
"The authors have focused on a major problem that many textbooks seem either to ignore or at a minimum fail to recognize and address. Students often master the process of problem solving without understanding the underlying concept that the problem attempts to address. The authors have taken a giant step in addressing this shortcoming."
"I think these [Concept Explorations] are very beneficial for a few reasons. They go beyond the typical end-of-chapter problems. They are more in-depth and allow connections to be made to concepts in other sections of the chapter. The questions will allow the students to be less focused on trying to remember how the numbers are to be applied to the formulas and more focused on understanding and applying the concept. I think it is advantageous that the problems are in a multi-step format. The students will feel a greater sense of accomplishment as they progress through the problem."
"These [Strategy Problems] meet the worthy goals of the author. They are well written, adequate in number and rigor, and do not just parrot earlier exercises. I was initially afraid these would be as difficult as some of the 'comprehensive' exercises found in texts, but this was not the case. The only thing that makes them 'difficult' is the lack of an algorithm to follow. Should help push some students toward broader thinking."
"Great idea. It is too easy to develop a false sense of security applying a standard model to homework problems without understanding chemistry. The [Strategy] problems in both chapters I reviewed appeared adequate with the right balance of challenge and ability to solve the problem using available information."
About the Author
Darrell Ebbing has taught general chemistry for more than thirty years and is now retired from Wayne State University. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Indiana University.
Steven D. Gammon is a professor of chemistry at Western Washington University and a leader in the development of multimedia-based software for chemical education. He has contributed greatly to the increased emphasis on conceptual understanding in the text.