Chemistry students start constructing cases for, against FDA approved products Creation of arguments utilize CER


Julia Jauregui

To determine if products should be more Food & Drug Association regulated, students in Jennifer Conders’ chemistry classes are starting a new PBL.

“The purpose is to use the CER in science—claim, evidence and reasoning,” Conder said. “During this presentation, [students] need to be able to build a case using the evidence researched and found from the labels of different products investigated to build a case to support the claim.”

Students will be following the guiding question, “Should there be more regulations from the FDA for products that are used and consumed by Americans?” To start the project, students were required to bring labels of items that are FDA regulated to identify what kind of chemicals are allowed inside everyday food and household items.

“Because we needed to bring in seven products, my group and I split up the work and each brought two things in such as sunscreen, wafers and boxed cake mix,” sophomore Gabrielle Bagtas said. “It was cool seeing that some of the chemical-based ingredients were even relievers for pain and swelling.”

In each class period leading up to presentations, students will receive more input in terms of the case construction to reach their end products. For instance, students will perform a scavenger hunt next class to learn about chemical and physical properties.

“I like how we’re not simply learning through lectures,” sophomore Chastynne Bautista said. “I feel as if I’m understanding better due to these hands-on projects and I’m pretty eager to know what we’ll do for the rest of the project.”

The FDA regulations will be the final topic students discuss before starting a review unit for their semester exam.

“I’m really hoping this helps to provide [skills such as] problem solving and critical thinking,” Conder said. “You’re building more than just regurgitating skills that you can actually learn from using the three claim, evidence and reasoning.”