Using a context-based approach to undergraduate chemistry teaching - A case study for introductory physical chemistry

Simon T. Belt, Mathias J. Leisvik, Andrew J. Hyde, Tina L. Overton

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This paper describes the rationale for using a context-based approach to the teaching of undergraduate physical chemistry, together with an overview of a case study, which has been developed to teach aspects of thermodynamics, kinetics and electrochemistry usually associated with the early stages of undergraduate chemistry courses. The context is that of the next generation of energy for an emerging city (Los Verdes) located in the south-west region of the USA. Working in groups, students use an array of physical chemistry principles to examine the combustion of fossil fuels and hydrogen, the use of hydrogen in fuel cells, solar power, and energy from a geothermal source. Students gain experience in working with both familiar and novel types of problem solving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-179
Number of pages14
JournalChemistry Education Research and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Case study
  • Electrochemistry
  • Geothermal power
  • Group work
  • Kinetics
  • Physical chemistry
  • Problem solving
  • Solar power
  • Thermodynamics

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