Correct interpretation of chemical diagrams requires transforming from one level of representation to another

Chittleborough, Gail and Treagust, David 2008, Correct interpretation of chemical diagrams requires transforming from one level of representation to another, Research in science education, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 463-482.

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Title Correct interpretation of chemical diagrams requires transforming from one level of representation to another
Author(s) Chittleborough, Gail
Treagust, David
Journal name Research in science education
Volume number 38
Issue number 4
Start page 463
End page 482
Total pages 20
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Clayton, Vic.
Publication date 2008-08
ISSN 0157-244X
1573-1898
Keyword(s) chemical diagrams
chemistry
representations
explanations
non-major
first-year university
Summary 17 volunteer non-major chemistry students taking an introductory university chemistry course were interviewed about their understanding of a variety of chemical diagrams. All the students' interviewed appreciated that diagrams of laboratory equipment were useful to show how to set up laboratory equipment. However students' ability to explain specific diagrams at either the macroscopic or sub-microscopic level varied greatly. The results highlighted the poor level of understanding that some students had even after completing both exercises and experiments using the diagrams. The connection between the diagrams of the macroscopic level (equipment, chemicals), the sub- microscopic level (molecular) and the symbolic level (equations) was not always considered explicitly by students. The results indicate a need for chemical diagrams to be used carefully and more explicitly to ensure learner understanding. Correspondingly, students need to interpret visual chemical diagrams using meta-visualisation skills linking the various levels of representation, and appreciating the role of the diagrams in explanations need to be developed.
Language eng
Field of Research 130208 Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio Economic Objective 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2008
Copyright notice ©2007, Springer Science + Business Media B.V.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30017954

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Education
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