Campus Compact

Educating citizens • building communities

Campus Compact > Syllabi > Chemistry > First Year Seminar in Chemistry – Chemistry Through a Child s Eye


First Year Seminar in Chemistry – Chemistry Through a Child s Eye

School: Colorado State University
Professor: Nancy E. Levinger

Email: levinger {at} lamar.colostate(.)edu
(also linked to the Chemistry Department and Dr. Levinger's homepages)

Service-Learning Assistant: Sherrie Ann Vander Vliet

Course Objectives: The First Year Seminar Courses at Colorado State University have three primary goals:
1) to help you make the transition from high school to college as smoothly as possible
2) to enhance your written and oral communication skills
3) to give you a small, intimate class experience

In addition, through this class you will be expected to develop interest and appreciation of chemistry
1) through reading about and repeating experiments in chemistry
2) by service-learning in which students will take chemistry into local elementary schools
3) by exploring current topics in chemistry, or science in general

Required Reading: Uncle Tungsten, by Oliver W. Sacks (Alfred Knopf, New York, 2001) and handouts that will be distributed during the course.

Service-learning is a process in which students reinforce ideas and information learned in the classroom by performing outreach activities in the community. Service-learning activities are not just outreach they present participating students the opportunity to Learn by doing . The service-learning activities in this class will focus on teaching chemistry to elementary school students. By exploring chemistry with elementary school students several times throughout the semester, students in this class will improve their understanding of chemistry and their ability to communicate concepts that we will cover in the class. Credit will not be given directly for the service-learning activity, that is, going to the elementary school and instructing. Students will be assessed on the basis of their preparation before the activity, their reflection about the activity afterward and their group participation.

Course Activities:
Labwork We will be performing all the experiments that will be used for service-learning. We will also explore selected experiments with chemistry from Uncle Tungsten.

Service-learning All students in this class will participate in service-learning where they will present chemistry to elementary school students in local schools. Students will work in groups of ~6 per elementary school class and will visit the classes 3 times over the course of the semester.

Group project All students will make a mini presentation to the rest of the class about a current topic in chemistry or science. This project must be a group effort including a contract from the group showing division of labor. The projects will be presented during the final exam time.

Written assignments Students will be required to keep a journal of service-learning activities. Journal assignments will be associated with the service-learning activities and will count toward that part of the course grade. There will be various other writing assignments throughout the semester.

For Labwork Students must always:
Wear safety goggles or glasses. There will be no extra safety eyewear students are responsible for their own goggles/glasses.
Wear appropriate clothing pants that cover the legs completely, preferably made from natural fibers (cotton or wool); shirts that are not too baggy and cover the torso completely (no bare middrifts); shoes with closed toes and heels.
ie long hair back
Because the classroom is a laboratory, eating and drinking in class is strictly forbidden.

Grading: Several important aspects of this course will count toward your grade.

In-class Participation
10 points/per class meeting
Total for the semester= 300
10 points = in class on time and participating in class discussions
5 points = in class on time
2.5 point deduction for arriving late to class
For every two (2) unexcused absences, a student s course grade will drop one letter value (8 unexcused absences will result in a failing grade)

Total 300 points
This will be a group project in which all group members must participate. Students will be required to sign a contract agreeing to participate in the activity. Points will not be assigned for the act of going out to the public schools. Rather, points will be given for up-front preparation and reflection/journal exercises

Written/homework assignments
10 points each
Total 50 points
A few written assignments that are not associated with the service learning activity will be collected through the semester.

Group project
100 points
A final group project will cap the semester


NOTE: You can earn 40% of the total possible points by simply coming to class on time and contributing to the discussion of the day.

As a student in Rhode Island, Campus Compact has become a valuable asset for me in facilitating my civic engagement. Rhode Island Campus Compact is drawing countless students into service and the many opportunities that can come from it."

-Kim Ahern, student, Providence College