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The purpose of the curiosity journal in this class is to give you an opportunity to investigate some of those “I’ve always wondered why…” questions that every person has. For each journal assignment, you will have the opportunity to research one of those questions and summarize what you discover.
Each entry should be loosely tied to or inspired by one of our chapters or topics in class. It might come from your reading, your homework, a lab, a lecture or even a class discussion. Indeed, sometimes the questions that you ask as students during my lectures make fantastic curiosity journal topics!
In the past, students have written on chemical principles, chemical compounds, chemical concepts, or even people. Entries have had tie-ins to biology, physics, engineering, history or no tie-ins at all; sometimes they pertain to every-day life, sometimes to pop-culture, or sometimes more directly to pure science as a discipline. Although each entry should relate to chemistry in some direct way, you do have the freedom with these assignments to really get inquisitive! Some example entries from previous students are included on D2L.
You will do a total of seven entries during the semester. Each entry will be submitted electronically to the Dropbox folder set up on the course D2L page. The due dates for each entry are indicated on the Dropbox folder, with the first entry being due by 11:59 PM on the second Wednesday of the semester, and one due at the same time every other Wednesday thereafter. The due dates for each entry may also be found in their respective Dropbox folder on D2L. You may submit your assignments early if you wish. Your entry will be checked by the Dropbox plagiarism checker, so use your own words in your explanation! Plagiarized journal entries will receive a zero.
Use the following format: 11 or 12 point font, 1 inch margins, single-spaced paragraphs, Calibri, Arial, or TNR font.
Each journal entry should have three parts:
- State your question clearly
In a separate paragraph, state what is it that you are wondering about. Briefly state why you are curious about the question you have chosen.
- Summarize what you learned from your research
Explain in your own words what you discovered about your question. Do not plagiarize! Think about how you would explain what you learned to your classmates in this class. Your explanation should be a half page to a page in length. Proper use of grammar and spelling is important! A well-written entry will automatically do a better job of communicating its point to the intended audience.
- Cite your sources
Choose and cite at least three sources for each entry. Choose credible sources. They do not need to be primary sources, but they should be credible. Wikipedia is not a credible source, but sometimes it can serve as a decent starting point. If you choose to use it as a starting point, make sure to directly cite the actual sources you ultimately use. You may use any standard citation method that you choose – MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. – but be consistent. The reference librarian is a great source of help in finding and citing sources. The writing center can help you write clearly, organize your ideas, and write correct citations. You may find some sources that you use for multiple entries; that’s fine, provided you cite them each time.
Each entry will be scored out of 10 points. Journal entries that to not meet all of the above criteria will not receive credit (0/10), and will be returned for revision and resubmission. Submissions with fewer than three citations will be penalized by 3 points per cite fewer than three. Failure to cite any sources will result in a score of 0 for that entry. You may revise your entries without penalty any number of times up until the due date. Any entries submitted after normal business hours on the day they are due may or may not be reviewed for resubmission prior to the deadline!
Entries submitted within 24 hours after the posted deadline will be accepted for half-credit (at most 5 points), although no revisions will be allowed. Please bear in mind that half-credit is still a failing grade!
All journal entries that do meet the above criteria will receive full credit (10/10).