Ira Caspari

Department of Chemistry
Pearson Chemistry Laboratory
62 Talbot Avenue
Tufts University 
Medford, MA 02155 

Office: TBD

Tel: TBD  Fax: 617-627-3443

E-mail:  Ira.Caspari@tufts.edu

Research Homepage (TBD)

Current Appointments


Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry

Secondary Appointment, Department of Education




B.Ed., Chemistry and Biology, 2010, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

M.Ed., Chemistry and Biology, 2013, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
Ph.D., 2018, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018-20, University of Massachusetts Boston


Research Interests


Chemistry Education. In order to understand how and why successful teaching and learning of chemistry at the university level works, the Caspari research group focuses on analyzing students’, teaching assistants’ (TA), learning assistants’ (LA), and instructors’ reasoning, interactions, and culture. The group collects video data of classroom practices and conducts qualitative research interviews with instructors, TAs, LAs, and students to better understand how certain interactions and ways of reasoning lead to student sense making and learning. While zooming in and investigating how students connect aspects of chemistry, the group also zooms out and investigates classroom culture and how individual interactions and personal experiences integrate into larger systems of teaching and learning. The group uses this fundamental research as a theoretical basis for the design of scaffolding tools and the development of training opportunities for teaching chemistry at the university level. Further projects investigate how those scaffolding tools can be used successfully in the classroom, how TAs and LAs learn to teach when they participate in training opportunities, and how this influences their classroom practices.


Selected Recent Publications


Scaffolding the structure of organic chemistry students’ multivariate comparative mechanistic reasoning. Caspari, I., & Graulich, N., International Journal of Physics and Chemistry Education,
, 11(2), 31-43.


Resolving the complexity of organic chemistry students’ reasoning through the lens of a mechanistic framework. Caspari, I., Kranz, D., & Graulich, N., Chemistry Education Research and Practice,
2018, 19(4), 1117-1141.


This mechanistic step is “productive”: organic chemistry students’ backward-oriented reasoning. Caspari, I., Weinrich, M. L., Sevian, H., & Graulich, N., Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 2018, 19(1), 42-59.