Insufficient emphasis is put in science teaching on the fact that models are simulations of reality based on a certain theory and that molecules are not miniatures of the models that represent them. We investigated how chemistry teachers and high school students who enrolled in a special program perceive the nature and functions of models by using a model perception questionnaire. In the research 34 pre- and in-service teachers attended a 14 hours workshop on models and their model perception was investigated with the model questionnaire. This questionnaire was also administered to two groups of high-school chemistry students - experimental and control - which studied chemical bonding and structure. The teachers of the experimental group participated in the training and emphasized the model concept via using various models including computerized molecular modeling, whereas the control group teachers taught the topic in the traditional way, without the aid of computer and without emphasizing the model concept. Overall, the in-service training on models has improved several aspects of the teachers' model perception in both stages. This finding is confirmed by the significant difference found between the experimental and control groups of the high school students. Students’ results indicate the effectiveness of the treatment on students’ conceptualizing the meanings of models, especially in the domain of chemistry. [Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. Eur.: 2000, 1, 109-120]
A blended learning approach to the teaching of a level 2 inorganic chemistry module is presented. Lectures were replaced by study packs, which were supported by formative on-line assessment delivered via Blackboard and a programme of 20 workshops. Learning activities written using the Lockwood format were included in the study pack to facilitate active learning. The formative on-line assessments were designed to provide rapid and helpful feedback to the students in advance of the workshops. The tracking and gradebook facilities in Blackboard allowed staff to monitor student activity and progress. Attendance at the workshops was encouraged by including end-of workshop summative assessments. An analysis of module results revealed an improvement in performance compared to previous years and other core chemistry modules, after introducing blended learning to the level 2 inorganic chemistry module in 2004/5. The improvement was maintained in 2005/6. Module questionnaires revealed a significant improvement in student satisfaction with subject content, delivery and performance feedback on adopting a blended learning approach.
A complete set of digital exercises for introductory Food Chemistry has been developed. The major function of the exercises is to promote active acquisition of food chemistry knowledge. This paper describes the design process and the result of the design process. Design guidelines and requirements were derived, based on theories about cognitive load, motivation and active learning. The digital exercises were designed according to these guidelines. Next, teachers, students, and experts in (food) chemistry, education and user-interface design tested the digital exercises against the design requirements. Consequentially, a number of exercises were adjusted and currently the exercises are in use at several universities. The article describes the exercises in detail, with several illustrative examples. An in depth view on the possibilities to create digital learning objects for food chemistry in accordance to a set of practical guidelines is given.
Organic chemistry has the long-standing reputation as a challenging course, and organic synthesis is an aspect of organic chemistry that requires students to make the most links between concepts and requires the highest order of thinking. One-on-one interviews were conducted with students from a second undergraduate organic chemistry course in which participants solved synthesis problems using a think aloud protocol. Those problems had been previously designed to scaffold students' acquisition of synthesis problem-solving skills. The research question for this study asked whether students worked through the synthesis learning activities as designed, toward the intended learning outcomes. The results show that in some questions, students used or tried to use desirable problem solving skills, such as using reaction mechanisms and chemical principles to explore possible solutions. However, with other question types, students (i) relied on familiarity with the reactions in question and lacked a problem-solving strategy when they could not recall the answer or (ii) avoided the purpose of the question and attempted to provide an answer that the professor “wanted.” Strategies for promoting desired synthesis skills and addressing other issues are discussed.
Current study adapted the Derived Chemistry Anxiety Scale (DCARS) into Turkish and examined the preliminary psychometric properties of the Turkish version. The Turkish DCARS is composed of three components, which are derived from 32 Likert-type items that purport to measure anxiety experienced in chemistry-related situations. In the adaptation procedure, English-Turkish conformity, Turkish language conformity and understandability, and back translation were used. In the preliminary psychometric investigation, structural validity, content validity, concurrent validity, internal consistency and test-retest reliability were examined. Results show that item translations have high conformity with the original items and experts found the Turkish items understandable. Validity analyses confirmed the adapted scale’s three-factor structure. In addition, concurrent validity was evidenced by significant positive correlation coefficients between the scale scores and the test anxiety and state-trait anxiety scores. Reliability analyses indicate high consistency among the scale’s items both at the total and sub-scale levels and that scale and subscale scores were stable over time We conclude that the Turkish DCARS is a promising assessment instrument in measuring chemistry anxiety levels among Turkish college students.
This is a conceptual paper aimed at chemistry educators. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the use of the semantic code of Legitimation Code Theory in chemistry teaching. Chemistry is an abstract subject which many students struggle to grasp. Legitimation Code Theory provides a way of separating out abstraction from complexity both of which provide substantial challenges to students. These are termed semantic gravity (degree of abstraction) and semantic density (degree of complexity). These ideas are then illustrated using chemical examples in order to demonstrate how they may aid the teaching of chemistry. There is a second pedagogical device which Maton, the developer of Legitimation Code Theory, calls ‘semantic waves’. This is also discussed in the context of chemistry education. The semantic code could be applied to chemistry at all levels.
On the basis of responses to written questions administered to more than one thousand introductory chemistry students, we claim that students often rotely apply memorized combustion rules instead of reasoning based on explanatory models for what happens at the molecular level during chemical reactions. In particular, many students argue that combustion produces carbon dioxide and/or water, even when the reactants do not contain hydrogen or carbon, an answer that is inconsistent with the principle of atom conservation. Our study also corroborates the finding that students frequently say that oxygen is “necessary for” or “used in” combustion reactions without connecting this reasoning to conservation principles, suggesting that this likewise may be a rotely applied, memorized rule.
Nanoscale science remains at the forefront of modern scientific endeavors. As such, students in chemistry need to be prepared to navigate the physical and chemical concepts that describe the unique phenomena observed at this scale. Current approaches to integrating nanoscale topics into undergraduate chemistry curricula range from the design of new individual nano courses to broad implementation of modules, experiments, and activities into existing courses. We have developed and assessed three modular instructional materials designed to explicitly connect core physical and chemical concepts to those at the nanoscale. These modular instructional materials aim to be readily adapted to any existing curricular format and have been designed based on an educational framework for analogy. The findings from a qualitative study involving upper-division undergraduate chemistry students indicate that analogical transfer from core physical and chemical concepts to those at the nanoscale can be facilitated through the use of these instructional materials. Conceptual challenges as well as evidence for analogical transfer are provided herein, along with recommendations for instructor implementation and future work.
This study analysed the distribution of questions from the gas law chapters of four high school and four college chemistry textbooks based on six variables—Book Type (secondary versus introductory college), Cognitive Skill (lower-order versus higher-order), Question Format (calculation versus multiple-choice versus short-answer), Question Placement (in-chapter versus end-of-chapter versus test-bank), Question Type (qualitative versus quantitative), and Representation (macroscopic versus particulate versus symbolic). The questions in these chapters were homogeneously distributed for the Cognitive Skill and the Representation variables, but showed differences in question distribution based on the Book Type, Question Format, Question Placement, and Question Type variables. The loglinear analysis method used in this study provides one way to analyse the distribution of different types of questions appearing in chemistry textbooks, and these differences in question distribution can be helpful for textbook authors to evaluate the types of questions appearing in their textbooks and how they are presented, and can be helpful for chemistry instructors to determine how they need to adapt their instructional lessons to prepare students for course examinations or college/career placement examinations.
This paper examines the definition of a problem and at the process of problem solving. An analysis of a number of first and third year chemistry examination papers from English universities revealed that over ninety per cent of the 'problems' fell into the 'algorithm' category. Using Bloom's taxonomy and the same examination papers, we found that the categories of knowledge and comprehension were redominating. At the Open University we have tried to find out how students go about the solving of more unfamiliar style problems. There was a greater tendency for males to get into the problem more quickly, but there seemed to be no gender difference in overall performance, suggesting a male tendency to start without allowing time for due consideration of the task. In contrast, a larger proportion of the female population spent time thinking before embarking on a particular route. Finally, the type of work carried out in the chemistry laboratory is considered, where more formal activities of the verification of known laws and effects etc. dominate. It is good that new findings from research are introduced into the undergraduate curriculum, but there is also a need for removing redundant material.
After a unit on the topic 'biodiesel' was taught using a sociocritical and problem-oriented approach, the students were asked to reflect on the main goals of the teaching, what they learned and how they liked the activities. This was done using several open questions in a written questionnaire. This article outlines the teaching concept and discusses the students’ reflection on the teaching as a case study. The objective is to determine (a) whether the inclusion of sociocritical reflection by the students on the applications of scientific discoveries may improve the attitude of the students towards science learning and (b) whether they think that increasingly open teaching methods for discussing these questions help to improve their communicative and social skills and their personal development.
General chemistry is the first undergraduate course in which students’ further develop their understanding of fundamental chemical concepts. Many of these fundamental topics highlight the numerous conceptual interconnections present in chemistry. However, many students possess incoherent knowledge structures regarding these topics. Therefore, more effective assessments are needed to identify these interconnections. The use of concept-mapping and think-aloud interviews to investigate the knowledge structures of undergraduate organic chemistry students’ regarding bonding concepts is the focus of this research study. Herein, we spotlight the bonding concepts of electronegativity and polar covalent bonds. In essence, the study found that understanding of electronegativity was weak among students with low concept map scores (LS students) compared to students with high concept map scores (HS students). Additionally, several common misconceptions of electronegativity were revealed through student interviews. An examination of LS student interviews further revealed that a lack of understanding of electronegativity led to a misunderstanding of polar covalent bonding. The think-aloud interviews were a reflection of the connections students made with the concepts of electronegativity and polar covalent bonding in their concept maps. Implications for the chemistry curriculum are also presented.
This article analyses Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in chemistry by reviewing existing challenges and future possibilities on the levels of the teacher and the student. Pedagogical frameworks that are found eligible in practice are reviewed. Lesson themes that are suitable for implementing socio-scientific issues (SSI) related to ESD into basic chemistry education at schools are discussed. Based on this analysis, three new demonstrative pedagogical models for ESD in chemistry are presented to help guide the work of teachers. The models draw on an interdisciplinary reading of research in the field of SSI-based science education, sustainability science, green chemistry and environmental education. The current state of ESD in Finnish chemistry education is used as an example case throughout the article. Two tasks where future development is required were recognised. The first task concerns supporting chemistry teachers in overcoming the challenges with SSI and ESD they face in their work. The second task is to ensure that students are more often provided with more relevant and flexible chemistry content and studying methods.
A significant body of the literature in science education examines students’ conceptions of the dissolution of ionic solids in water, often showing that students lack proper understanding of the particulate nature of dissolving materials as well as holding numerous misconceptions about the dissolution process. Consequently, chemical educators have explored several instructional strategies to address this issue including the use of multimedia, computer animations, and hands-on activities. In this paper, we describe the ways in which the use of physical 3D magnetic molecular models during a cooperative inquiry-based activity on chemical bonding prompted classroom discourse on what counts as chemically justifiable and appropriate representations of dissolved ionic solids in water. In so doing, we use the intersection of science education and technology to research the role of models in science teaching, the nature of classroom discourse initiated by modeling activities, and unfolding changes in student conceptions and ultimately student learning.
This paper reports case study research into the knowledge and understanding of chemistry for six secondary science student teachers. It combines innovative student-generated computer animations, using ChemSense software, with interviews to probe understanding of four common chemical processes used in the secondary school curriculum. Findings indicate that the students possess misconceptions in depicting free atoms, bond angles and ionic and covalent bonds. They limit their models to two dimensional representations and produce models as a series of episodes that follow reaction equations. However, they balance the numbers of atoms and engage with, and discuss, construction of models over extended periods of time. The study concludes that misconceptions may persist from prior learning, may continue due to limited access to prior knowledge, and the individuals may use multiple frameworks to explain new ideas. The ChemSense software is discussed as a tool for encouraging discussion and the development of knowledge in chemistry.
The aim of this study is to understand the design of professional development programmes in teacher-based and context-based chemistry curriculum innovations. Firstly, the goals of these programmes are discussed and related to the concept of empowerment. Next, in a selection of empirical studies, four general strategies for professional development are analysed (providing access to innovative units, organising reflection, collaboration and organising the design of innovative units by teachers). This analysis results in two outcomes: (1) a sequence of events for teacher-based and context-based curriculum design and (2) the conclusion that in these studies explicit relations between the goals, the strategies and the activities in these programmes are lacking; they should be made more explicit. It is recommended that a theory for teacher professional development should be used to describe these relations.
This article discusses the nature of implicit knowledge, something which is considered to be highly influential in learning. The notion of implicit knowledge is important in conceptualising studies exploring student thinking and learning in chemistry, and in considering how the results of such studies should be interpreted to inform teaching. Research on cognition suggests that a good deal of the knowledge that people call upon in interpreting their world and making decisions is not accessible to conscious introspection. This has consequences in chemistry education research as individuals are not able to directly report implicit knowledge – so it can only be elicited indirectly. A corollary is that the results of many research studies reporting student conceptions in chemistry need to be understood as reflecting – at least in part – cognition drawing upon implicit knowledge. The distinction between explicit and implicit knowledge is an important one in understanding chemistry learning given that implicit knowledge operates automatically in cognition without deliberation. This suggests that strategies designed to counter students' alternative conceptions may need to be quite different when such ideas derive from the operation of implicit knowledge rather than students' explicit knowledge. The importance of implicit knowledge elements sometimes labelled as p-prims has been widely recognised in physics education research, and it is argued here that research into student thinking and learning in chemistry needs to take more account of the distinction between explicit and implicit knowledge elements if it is to better inform teaching. Research is needed to understand the repertoire and action of implicit knowledge elements active in chemistry learning. This will then facilitate the design of studies to test out teaching approaches that can recruit the most suitable implicit knowledge elements to support learning of canonical chemical ideas.
The aim of this study is to develop a framework for professional development programmes that empowers chemistry teachers to teach and design context-based chemistry curricula. Firstly, teachers involvement, their concerns and their professional development in several context-based curriculum innovations is discussed. Secondly, to develop such a framework, a theory for (teacher) learning is needed. From an overview of several theories for (teacher) learning, an adapted version of Galperins theory for the internalisation of mental actions is selected. Thirdly, this theory is combined with four strategies for professional development, five events for teacher-based curriculum design, and specific goals into a framework for this kind of professional development programmes. This framework will contribute to a better understanding of the relations between the goals of such professional development programmes, the intended learning processes of the teachers and the sequence of events in such programmes. Empirical research with this framework is recommended.
Digital exercises were designed and developed for food chemistry education. During the design process, design requirements were described for such exercises. The exercises were evaluated in three case studies, firstly to determine whether the exercises satisfy the design requirements with respect to students¿ use and secondly to provide insight into the effect of the course structure and organisation on the value that the students attribute to the exercises. The results show that the exercises meet most of the design requirements. Students found the exercises clear and helpful, and most students confirmed that these exercises helped them in their preparations for their examinations. Despite this, participation in the programme was low when working on the exercises was not compulsory. The differences in evaluation results between the three studies can be explained by differences in the course structure and organisation
The purpose of this study was to investigate how a mixed-method case study affects pre-service science teachers’ awareness of hexavalent chromium pollution and content knowledge about the properties of chromium’s different oxidation states. The study was conducted in Turkey with 55 sophomores during the fall semester of 2013-2014. The students were taught using a case study about chromium’s properties, the qualitative and quantitative analysis methods used with chromium compounds, the effects of chromium compounds on human health, and the chemical techniques that can be used to remove hexavalent chromium from wastewater. Open-ended questions were applied to determine the students’ pre- and post-knowledge levels before and after instruction. An open-ended questionnaire and semi-structured interviews showed that the case study had a positive effect on all participants in terms increasing their awareness of the hazardous effects of hexavalent chromium. Pair sample and independent sample t-test results revealed that the experimental and control groups significantly increased their content knowledge after instruction. On the other hand, while there was no statistically significant difference between the groups on verbal questions, there was a difference between the experimental and control groups on calculative questions. This finding shows that mixed-method case instruction might not have affected all subjects in the same way.
This paper presents a study of prospective teachers' initial knowledge of how to teach the energetic aspects of chemical reactions. The research was designed as a naturalistic case-study. Fourteen prospective chemistry teachers were invited to individually prepare the first two lessons on the heat involved in reactions in solutions. The lessons were for grade 11 classes (age 16-17) from pre-university schools. The prospective teachers were not allowed to consult any textbook, but they were asked to incorporate two specific classroom experiments in their lesson plan. During a group meeting, the lesson plans were exchanged and discussed. Research data were obtained from audiotaped semi-structured interviews with the individual prospective teachers. In addition, their written lesson plans were collected and analysed. The group discussions were also audiotaped and analysed. The results reveal a number of interesting characteristics of prospective teachers' pedagogical content knowledge. Implications of the study for science teacher preparation courses will also be presented. [Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. Eur.: 2000, 1, 91-96]
The ideas of chemistry are not getting the attention they deserve in either formal or informal educational provision. It is argued that an improvement in this position requires the further development of the nature and quality of chemical education in the light of research. An established typology of research is used to show that the range of types of chemical education research that has been conducted is too narrow to support this development. There is evidence that even existing research has too little impact on the practice of chemical education. A second typology is used to discuss the range of levels and forms of impact. Finally, it is argued that education through, with, and about chemical education research is needed in the professional development of chemistry teachers, if these situations are to improve and chemical education is to face a brighter future.
We investigated the effect of instructional analogies in interaction with logical thinking ability on achievement and attitude towards chemistry. The participants were 147 female students from 6 8th grade classes in three public junior high schools selected by using a random multistage sampling method from five education districts in Tabriz, a metropolis northwest of Iran. The classes were randomly assigned to two experimental groups (E1 and E2) and a control group (C), each group consisted of two classes. Group E1 was taught using an analogy model, group E2 received textual elaborated analogy as a supplementary activity, and group C was taught using traditional instruction. The data were collected through a chemistry achievement test, attitude towards chemistry scale, and a logical thinking ability test. The results showed that students with concrete thinking at knowledge level of chemistry achievement test in E2 group had better performance than E1 and C groups and the use of teaching with the analogy model had no significant effect on the students’ chemistry achievement. Also, significant difference was not found between the three study groups in terms of interest and self-confidence as subscales of attitude towards chemistry.
An assessment of the acylation of ferrocene laboratory exercise across three successive years resulted in a significant fluctuation in student perception of the experiment. This perception was measured by collecting student responses to an instrument immediately after the experiment, which includes Likert and open-ended responses from the student. Students in all three years identified technical benefits from the experiment. In Years 1 and 3, students also recognised the benefits of improving their conceptual understanding of organic chemistry. However, in Year 2, where background knowledge became a critical and limiting factor, all perception of conceptual understanding as an experiment objective was lost, and only recognition of technical development remained. Analysis of these data also indicated that students who have enough time to complete the experiment also perceive a measure of responsibility for their own learning, whereas time-poor students have an over-reliance on the laboratory notes and demonstrators. Addressing concepts such as these may be the triggers required for time-poor experiments to garner a positive student experience and maximise both the conceptual and technical benefits of the experiment.