Conceptual Questions & Challenge Problems in Chemistry

Decorative: "Conceptual Understanding"


A. "Conceptual Questions and Challenge Problems in Chemistry" (web site) is part of the Journal of Chemical Education Question Bank, providing "a library of free response and multiple choice conceptual questions and challenge problems, tips for writing these questions and problems, and a discussion of types of concept questions."

  • "This site is intended to be a means of sharing conceptual questions and challenge problems among chemical educators."

1. Conceptual Questions (CQs)  

  • "[T]ap into a student's understanding of chemical ideas associated with the question"
  • "[C]hallenge students to articulate their understanding and evaluate that understanding"
  • "[I]nvolve all three forms of representation--macroscopic, particulate, and symbolic--used to represent and translate chemical information"

2. Challenge Problems (ChP)

  • "[M]ulti-step (and sometimes multi-concept) problems that are designed to be worked in groups in order to encourage student interaction and group learning and thereby involve students actively in learning chemistry"
  • "[S]upplement traditional lectures and textbooks" 

B. Conceptual Questions (CQs)  

1. Benefits of Conceptual Questions

  • "[A]ssist students in obtaining a deeper learning experience"
  • "[I]mprove their understanding and ability to apply learning to new situations"
  • "[E]nhance their critical thinking"
  • "[I]ncrease their enthusiasm for science and learning"
  • "[E]xtend assessment beyond 'What does a student remember?' and 'What can a student do?' to 'What does a student understand?'
  • "[P]rovide one route for diagnosing student misconceptions".

2. Site Resources 

C. Challenge Problems (ChP)

1. Benefits of Challenge Problems

  • "[I]ncrease[s] role for active student participation in ... learning"
  • "[P]romote[s] the active learning process required for development of problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding"
  • "Develop[s] ... related or linked knowledge among several concepts, ideas, and/or problems"
  • "Reinforc[e] ... knowledge by [having students] explai[n] to others"
  • "Identifi[es] ... what students do or do not know"
  • "Recogni[zes] that a variety of problem-solving techniques are often available"
  • "[E]ncourages ... [u]nderstanding that some problem-solving techniques may be more efficient than others"

2. Site Resources

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