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Student-generated submicro diagrams : a useful tool for teaching and learning chemical equations and stoichiometry

Davidowitz, Bette, Chittleborough, Gail and Murray, Eileen 2010, Student-generated submicro diagrams : a useful tool for teaching and learning chemical equations and stoichiometry, Chemistry education research and practice, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 154-164.

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Title Student-generated submicro diagrams : a useful tool for teaching and learning chemical equations and stoichiometry
Author(s) Davidowitz, Bette
Chittleborough, Gail
Murray, Eileen
Journal name Chemistry education research and practice
Volume number 11
Issue number 3
Start page 154
End page 164
Total pages 11
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Place of publication Cambridge, England
Publication date 2010-07-07
ISSN 1756-1108
Keyword(s) chemical equations
submicroscopic diagrams
representations
stoichiometry
Summary This paper reports on a pedagogical approach to the teaching of chemical equations introduced to first year university students with little previous chemical knowledge. During the instruction period students had to interpret and construct diagrams of reactions at the submicro level, and relate them to chemical equations at the symbolic level with the aim of improving their conceptual understanding of chemical equations and stoichiometry. Students received instruction in symbol conventions, practice through graded tutorial tasks, and feedback on their efforts over the semester. Analysis of the student responses to formative test and summative exam items over consecutive years indicates that there was a consistent improvement in the abilities of the various cohorts to answer stoichiometry questions correctly. The responses provide evidence for diagrams of the submicro level being used as tools for reasoning in solving chemical problems, to recognise misconceptions of chemical formulae and to recognise the value of using various multiple representations of chemical reactions connecting the submicro and symbolic levels of representation. The student-generated submicro diagrams serve as a visualisation tool for teaching and learning abstract concepts in solving stoichiometric problems. We argue that the use of diagrams of the submicro level provides a more complete picture of the reaction, rather than a net summary of a chemical equation, leading to a deeper conceptual understanding.
Language eng
Field of Research 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2010, The Royal Society of Chemistry
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30029938

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Education
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in TR Web of Science
Scopus Citation Count Cited 15 times in Scopus
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Created: Tue, 07 Sep 2010, 11:37:03 EST by Gail Chittleborough

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.