S4-11 Tue Jan 5 15:00 – 15:15 Using zoos as a context to teach authentic research: reflections from first and second experience students taking introductory chemistry Hernandez, T; Donnelly-Hermosillo, D*; Person, E; Hansen, A; California State University Fresno; California State University Fresno; California State University Fresno; California State University Fresno email@example.com
Zoos are predominantly considered as environments to teach concepts of conservation and biology, and such considerations are reflected in undergraduate biology curricula. However, zoo-based exhibits are underpinned by a myriad of chemistry concepts yet such connections are largely absent from undergraduate chemistry curricula. This study investigates a new zoo-context guided-inquiry laboratory structure within an Introductory Chemistry course for students taking the course for the first time (first-experience), and students taking the course a second time with the new structure (second-experience), having failed the course in a conventional format a previous semester. The conventional laboratory format was designed to reinforce lecture content with cookbook-style laboratories while the zoo-based laboratory structure was focused on supporting student-designed investigations tied to zoo exhibits. Using interviews (n = 10 female students), we sought to understand students’ experiences and how such experiences could inform future iterations of the zoo-based structure. Through inductive thematic analysis, we found three themes describing student experiences in both laboratory environments – sense of community, relevancy of the work, and ownership of the experiments. This work describes the nuances across student perspectives of laboratory approaches and the implications of these findings for iterations to laboratory structures.