Chemistry with Accent: Educational Video Game
Julio Garay, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, Bronx Community College
At Bronx Community College (BCC), Introductory chemistry (CHM02) is required for advancement in STEM majors, including Nursing, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Physics, Dietetics and Nutrition, Medical Lab Technology, among others, and is most often recognized as a path for students into the medical profession. In a study conducted by Cohen (2019) from 1,690 students registered for introductory chemistry courses, 32 % received D, F or W and 49% of them ended in non-STEM majors, therefore chemistry becomes in a good predictor of students’ STEM careers persistence. At BCC, the high risk grade results are similar, with 31.5% average high risk grades from Fall 2015 to Spring 2020. The purpose of this proposed project is to develop video games as an academic tool focused on changing students’ perception of STEM subjects by creating a positive emotional connection with these topics and to increase persistence rates in STEM at BCC. Emotional connection is a powerful anchoring mechanism in human learning.
As CHM02 is a gateway course and a good predictor of STEM success, the proposal seeks to study our students’ motivation levels from their exposure to STEM content video games to enhance their understanding of basic and oftentimes difficult concepts in chemistry such as: stoichiometry, nomenclature, conversion factors. The goal is to create a friendlier environment to make students more comfortable and engaged in learning technical and scientific information, favoring the identification of information; allowing random and non-linear access to such information, presenting rules as needed, and most importantly, allowing them to freely explore the subject.