Room 124, Chemistry Building
M.A. University of Virginia, 2006
M.T. University of Virginia, 2008
Ph.D. University of Virginia, 2015
I am the instructor for the general chemistry labs that serve ~1400 of our undergraduate students each semester. In 2013, Charles Grisham and I redesigned the laboratory course from a cookbook approach to a project-based guided inquiry approach. In our new curriculum, students work in collaborative groups designing experiments and analyzing data to answer authentic research questions. For example, students are tasked with understanding properties of volatile liquids in order to make recommendations on how to transport hexanol for use in perfume manufacturing.
I also work with ~30 teaching assistants (TAs) each semester who work directly with students in the laboratory. I have developed an evidenced-based TA training to help support these TAs in implementing inquiry. Prior to the beginning of the semester and weekly during the semester the TAs engage in a variety of activities to better understand inquiry-based practices and how to interact with students.
My research interests focus on undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how TAs impact student learning in laboratory contexts and how TA training can be developed to improve TAs’ instruction and ultimately student learning. I am also interested in characterizing what and how we teach STEM courses and examining factors that may influence their choices in instruction.
Wheeler, L.B., Chiu, J.L., & Grisham, C.M. (in press). Computational methods in general chemistry: Perceptions of programming, prior experience, and student outcomes. Journal of College Science Teaching.
Wheeler, L.B., Maeng, J.L., & Whitworth, B.A. (2015). Teaching assistants perceptions of a training to support an inquiry-based general chemistry laboratory course. Chemical Education Research and Practice. DOI: 10.1039/c5rp00104h
Wheeler, L.B., Bell, R.L., Whitworth, B.A., & Maeng, J.L. (2015). The science ELF: Assessing the Enquiry Levels Framework as a heuristic for professional development. International Journal of Science Education, 1, 55-81. DOI:10.1080/09500693.2014.961182
Wheeler, L.B., Whitworth, B. A., & Gonczi, A.L. (2014). Chemistry and engineering design: Integrated science instruction. The Science Teacher, 81(9), 30-36.
Wheeler, L. B., Maeng, J. L. & Smetana, L.K. (2014). Incorporating argumentation through forensic science. Science Activities: Classroom Projects and Curriculum Ideas, 51(3), 67-77. doi:10.1080/00368121.2014.907233