Developing Systems Thinking Learning Objectives for the General Chemistry Courses

Recent high profile global initiatives highlight the crucial role of chemistry in finding solutions to multiple emerging global challenges. The IUPAC working group on Systems Thinking in Chemistry Education (STICE) has been working to take the first steps to guide efforts, at an international level, by chemistry educators to equip their students to more visibly and meaningfully address multiple emerging global challenges through the application of chemistry at its many interfaces. To do so requires a new emphasis on student learning objectives that incorporate systems thinking. Students need guidance in seeing the relevance of their education in and through chemistry for addressing challenges such as sustainability, alternative energy, planetary boundaries, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Yet many chemistry students still experience education in chemistry as somewhat isolated from other systems, such as the biosphere, human and animal health, and economic and social systems. Progress toward solutions by the profession of chemistry will require a more visible and consistent integration of systems thinking into chemistry education at various levels.

The primary focus of this half-day workshop will be to articulate learning objectives and strategies to infuse systems thinking into the teaching of general chemistry. The workshop will also explore strategies to guide the use of these learning objectives in the design of curriculum, selection of engaging pedagogies, and approaches to designing meaningful assessments.

1. Introduction & goals of STICE project (20 minutes)
2. Current thinking around systems thinking in chemistry (20 minutes)
3. Developing Learning Objectives overview (20 min)
4. Designing with assessment in mind
5. Working Groups: developing LOs (1.5 hour)
6. Regroup & share (30 min)

Undergraduate Education
Curriculum and Cognition
Cross-cutting Thread(s):
Sustainability/Green Chemistry

Sarah E. York

MaryKay Orgill

Jennifer MacKellar