Assessing Students' Molecular-Level Representations of Solution Chemistry

  • Lee, Soo-Young (National Center for Human Resources Development, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training)
  • Published : 2007.11.30

Abstract

In this study, university students were provided with repeated opportunities to represent their ideas graphically, and to examined via their drawings the extent to which they could visualize macroscopic phenomena microscopically. These drawings provided insight into the students' basic understanding of solution chemistry, revealing three conceptual models: the Undifferentiated Symbolic Model, the Particulate Model, and the Symbolic Ionic Model. Generally speaking, students who had poor conceptual understanding tended to exhibit the Undifferentiated Symbolic Model, whereas students with deeper understanding tended to employ the Symbolic Ionic Model. Students' conceptual comprehension was predictable from their graphical representations, which better elucidated what they actually comprehended about the phenomena, as opposed to their ambiguous verbal descriptions alone. The results of this study demonstrated a lack of development in university students' conceptions of solutions. Their weakness in understanding at the molecular-level became more obvious when they were asked to represent their ideas in drawings. Few students exhibited expert knowledge, and several common misconceptions were found, which indicated typical difficulties students have perceiving common phenomena at the molecular level. The findings of this study illustrate how eliciting graphical representations can be used to assess students' conceptual understandings.

Keywords

Molecular-level understanding;Graphical representations;Solutions chemistry;Assessment

References

  1. Cosgrove, M., & Osborne, R. (1981). Physical change (Working Paper 26): Learning in science project. Unpublished manuscript, Hamilton, N.Z
  2. Edens, K. M., & Potter, E. F. (2001). Promoting conceptual understanding through pictorial representation. Studies in Art Education, 42(3), 214-233 https://doi.org/10.2307/1321038
  3. Gabel, D., Samuel, K. V., & Hunn, D. (1987). Understanding the particulate nature of matter. Journal of Chemical Education, 64(8), 695-697 https://doi.org/10.1021/ed064p695
  4. Johnstone, A. H. (1991). Why is science difficult to learn? Things are seldom what they seem. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 7, 75-83 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2729.1991.tb00230.x
  5. Kang, H., Kim, B., & Noh, T. (2005). Drawing and writing as methods to assist students in connecting and integrating external representations in learning the particulate nature of matter with multiple representations. Journal of Korea Association of Research in Science Education. 25(4), 533-540
  6. Keig, P. F., & Rubba, P. A. (1993). Translation of representations of the structure of matter and its relationship to reasoning, gender, spatial reasoning, and specific prior knowledge. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30(8), 883-903 https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660300807
  7. Krajcik, J. S. (1991). Developing students understanding of chemical concepts. In S. M. Glynn, R. H. Yeany & B. K. Britton (Eds.), The psychology of learning science (pp. 117-147). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
  8. Laverty, D. T., & McGarvey, J. E. B. (1991). A 'constructivist' approach to learning. Education in Chemistry, 28(4), 99-102
  9. Lemke, J. (2001). Articulating communities: Sociocultural perspectives on science education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(3), 296-316 https://doi.org/10.1002/1098-2736(200103)38:3<296::AID-TEA1007>3.0.CO;2-R
  10. Noh, T., & Jeon, K. (1997). The instructional effect of a four-stage problem solving approach visually emphasizing the molecular level of matter upon students' conceptions and problem solving ability. Journal of Korea Association of Research in Science Education, 17(3), 313-312
  11. Noh, T., & Scharmann, L. C. (1997). Instructional influence of a molecular-level pictorial presentation of matter on students' conceptions and problem-solving ability. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34(2), 199-217 https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199702)34:2<199::AID-TEA6>3.0.CO;2-O
  12. Prieto, T., Blanco, A., & Rodriguez, A. (1989). The ideas of 11 to 14 year old students about the nature of solutions. International Journal of Science Education, 11(4), 451-463 https://doi.org/10.1080/0950069890110409
  13. Raviolo, A. (2001). Assessing students' conceptual understanding of solubility equilibrium. Journal of Chemical Education, 78(5), 629-631 https://doi.org/10.1021/ed078p629
  14. Renstroem, L., Andersson, B., & Marton, F. (1990). Students' conceptions of matter. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(3), 555-569 https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.82.3.555
  15. Schollum, B. (1981). Chemical change (Working Paper 27): Learning in science project. Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato
  16. Shavelson, R. J., Baxter, G., & Pine, J. (1991). Performance assessment in science. Applied Measurement in Education, 4(4), 347-362 https://doi.org/10.1207/s15324818ame0404_7
  17. Wu, H-K., Krajcik, J. S., & Soloway, E. (2001). Promoting understanding of chemical representations: students' use of a visualization tool in the classroom. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(7), 821-842 https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.1033
  18. Ben-Zvi, R., Eylon, B.-S., & Silberstein, J. (1987). Students' visulisation of a chemical reation. Education in Chemistry, 117-120
  19. Boo, H.-K., & Watson, J. R. (2001). Progression in high school students' (Aged 16-18) conceptualizations about chemical reactions in solution. Science Education, 85, 568-585 https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.1024
  20. Posner, G. J., Strike, K. A., Hewson, P. W., & Gertzog, W. A. (1982). Accommodation of a scientific conception: Toward a theory of conceptual change. Science Education, 66(2), 211-227 https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.3730660207
  21. Yarroch, W. L. (1985). Student understanding of chemical equation balancing. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 22(5), 449-459 https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660220507
  22. Dove, J. E., Everett, L. A., & Preece, P. F. W. (1999). Exploring a hydrological concepts through children's drawings. International Journal of Science Education, 21(5), 485-497 https://doi.org/10.1080/095006999290534
  23. Ebenezer, J. V., & Gaskell, P. J. (1995). Relational conceptual change in solution chemistry. Science Education, 79(1), 1-17 https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.3730790102
  24. Noh, T., & You, J., & Han, J. (2003). The effect of molecular level drawing-based instruction. Journal of Korea Association of Research in Science Education, 23(6), 609-616
  25. Stavridou, H., & Solomounidou, C. (1989). Physical phenomena-chemical phenomena: Do pupils make the distinction? International Journal of Science Education, 11, 83-92 https://doi.org/10.1080/0950069890110108
  26. Driver, R., Squires, A., Rushworth, P., & Wood-Robinson, V. (1994). Making sense of secondary science: Research into children's ideas. London, New York: Routledge
  27. Kozma, R., Chin, E., Russell, J., & Marx, N. (2000). The roles of representations and tools in the chemistry laboratory and their implications for chemistry learning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 9(2), 105-144 https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327809jls0902_1
  28. Williamson, V. M., & Abraham, M. R. (1995). The effects of computer animation on the particulate mental models of college chemistry students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32(5), 521-534 https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660320508
  29. Nurrenbem, S., & Pickering, M. (1987). Concept learning versus problem solving: Is there a difference? Journal of Chemical Education, 64(6), 508-509 https://doi.org/10.1021/ed064p508
  30. Ebenezer, J. V., & Erickson, G. L. (1996). Chemistry students' conceptions of solubility: A phenomenography. Science Education, 80(2), 181-201 https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-237X(199604)80:2<181::AID-SCE4>3.0.CO;2-C
  31. Kozma, R., Russell, J., Jones, T., Marx, N., & Davis, J. (1996). The use of multiple, linked representations to facilitate science understanding. In R. G. S. Vosniadou, E. DeCorte, & H. Mandel (Eds.), International perspective on the psychological foundations of technology-based learning environments (pp. 41-60). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
  32. Miles, M., & Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An Expanded sourcebook. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks
  33. Burke, K. A., Greenbowe, T. J., & Windschitl, M. A. (1998). Developing and using conceptual computer animations for chemistry instruction. Journal of Chemical Education, 75(12), 1658-1661 https://doi.org/10.1021/ed075p1658
  34. Lesh, R., Post, T., & Behr, M. (1987). Representations and translation among representations in mathematics learning and problem solving. In C. Janvier (Ed.), Problems of representation in the teaching and learning of mathematics (pp. 33-40). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
  35. Kang, H., & Noh, T. (2006). The influence of situational interst, attention, and cognitive effort on drawing as a method to assist students to connect and integrate multiple external representations. Journal of Korea Association of Research in Science Education. 26(4), 510-517
  36. Kozma, R. (2000). The use of multiple representations and the social construction of understanding in chemistry. In M. J. R. Kozma (Ed.), Innovations in science and mathematics education: Advance designs for technologies of learning (pp. 11-46). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
  37. Gabel, D. (1993). Use of the particle nature of matter in developing conceptual understanding. Journal of Chemical Education, 70(3), 193-194 https://doi.org/10.1021/ed070p193
  38. Griffiths, A. K., & Preston, K. R. (1992). Grade-12 students' misconceptions relating to fundamental characteristics of atoms and molecules. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29(6), 611-628 https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660290609
  39. Fensham, N., & Fensham, P. (1987). Descriptions and frameworks of solutions and rections in solutions. Research in Science Education, 17, 139-148 https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02357181
  40. Magnusson, S. J., Templin, M., & Boyle, R. A. (1997). Dynamic science assessment: A new approach for investigating conceptual change. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 6(1), 91-142 https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327809jls0601_5
  41. Ault, A. (2001). How to say how much: Amounts and stoichiometry. Journal of Chemical Education, 78(10), 1347-1349 https://doi.org/10.1021/ed078p1347
  42. Randell, S. (1995). Generating thinking-aloud protocols: Impacts on the narrative writing of college students. American Journal of Psychology, 108(1), 89-98 https://doi.org/10.2307/1423102
  43. Driver, R. (1985). Beyond appearance: The conservation of matter under physical and 6chemical transformations. In R. Driver, E. Guesne & A. Tiberghien (Eds.), Children's ideas in science (1 ed., pp. 145-169). Philadelphia: Open University Press
  44. Johnstone, A. H. (1982). Macro and micro chemistry. School Science Review, 64(227), 377-379
  45. Wu, H-K., & Shah, P. (2004). Exploring visuospatial thinking in chemistry learning. Science Education, 88(3), 456-492
  46. Kozma, R., & Russell, J. (1997). Multimedia and understanding: Expert and novice responses to different representations of chemical phenomena. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34, 949-968 https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199711)34:9<949::AID-TEA7>3.0.CO;2-U
  47. Gabel, D., Briner, D., & Haines, D. (1992). Modeling with magnets: A unified approach to chemistry problem solving. The Science Teacher, 59(Mar), 58-63
  48. Weber, R. (1990). Basic content analysis: Quantitative applications in the social sciences. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks
  49. Ardac, D., & Akaygun, S. (2004). Effectiveness of multimedia-based instruction that emphasizes molecular representations on students' understanding of chemical change. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(4), 317-337 https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.20005
  50. Brosnan, T., & Reynolds, Y. (2001). Students' explanations of chemical phenomena: Macro and micro differences. Research in Science and Technological Education, 19(1), 69-78 https://doi.org/10.1080/02635140120046231
  51. Gabel, D. (1998). The complexity of chemistry and implications for teaching. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International Handbook of Science Education (pp. 233-249). London: Kluwer Academic Press
  52. Jones, T., & Berger, C. (1995, April). Students' use of multimedia science instruction: The MTV generation? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Francisco
  53. Schank, P., & Kozma, R. (2002). Learning chemistry through the use of a representation-based knowledge building environment. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 21(3), 253-279
  54. Bowen, C. W. (1990). Representational systems used by graduate students while preblem solving in organic synthesis. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 27(4), 351-370 https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660270406
  55. Nussbaum, J. (1985). The particulate nature of matter in the gaseous phase. In R. Driver, E. Guesne & A. Tiberghien (Eds.), Children's ideas in science. Milton Keynes: Open University Press
  56. Pozo, J. I., Gomez C., & Miguel A. (2005). The embodied nature of implicit theories: The consistency of ideas about the nature of matter. Cognition & Instruction, 23(3), 351-387 https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532690xci2303_2
  57. Roth, W. M., & McGinn, M. (1998). Inscriptions: Toward a theory of representing as a social practice. Review of Educational Research, 68, 35-59 https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543068001035
  58. Singer, J. E., Wu, H-K., & Tal, R. (2003). Students' understanding of the particulate nature of matter. School Science and Mathematics, 103(1), 28-44 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1949-8594.2003.tb18111.x
  59. Unsworth, L. (2001). Evaluating the language of different types of explanations in junior high school science texts. International Journal of Science Education, 23(6), 585-609 https://doi.org/10.1080/09500690010006473
  60. Han, J. Y., Lee, J. Y., Kwack, J. H., & Noh, T. (2006). The effects of drawing and analyzing pictures in concept learning of the particulate nature of matter: A comparison based on student visual learning style. Journal of Korea Association of Research in Science Education. 26(1), 9-15
  61. Lee, S-Y. (2005). Investigating student's understandings of light using Dynamic Science Assessment method. Journal of Korean Science Education, 25(1), 41-56
  62. Sanger, M. J., & Greenbowe, T. J. (2000). Addressing student misconceptions concerning electron flow in aqueous solutions with instruction including computer animations and conceptual change strategies. International Journal of Science Education, 22(5), 521-537 https://doi.org/10.1080/095006900289769