Chemistry Is in the News: Assessment of Student Attitudes toward Authentic News Media-based Learning Activities


Chemistry Is in the News (CIITN) is a positive step to meet the challenge of integrating a content into instruction using proper teaching methods and learning theory. The CIITN activities are based on actual news articles from the popular press and aimed at connecting real-world social, economic, and political issues to the teaching of chemistry. It is based on constructivist learning theory which holds that connecting abstract scientific concepts with real-world experience can help students learn and remember the content. Students were assigned to read approximately one news portfolio per week and at the end of the twelfth week they submitted a group-created news portfolio, followed by the peer review of these portfolio. Consequently, two preparatory assignments are added to the project to increse confidence of the instructor and students and to provide more mandated contact between the students and the group. Students also have a greater opportunity to gain skills required to complete the portfolios prior to the actual construction, making them more comfortable with the process and resulting to higher quality portfolios. Also, the addition of constructive peer review step alleviates pressure on the students to perform well on the first try on a novel activity, helping them to make more open to this type of assessment.




University of Missouri. Institute for Instructional Development
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
National Science Foundation (U.S.)


We thank the MU Institute for Instructional Development (IID), the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and the National Science Foundation for support.

Keywords and Phrases

Education; Students; Teaching; Learning Theory; Portfolio; Teaching Methods; Chemistry

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2006 American Chemical Society (ACS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2006