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Developing an approach for teaching and learning about Lewis structures
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
Number of Authors: 42017 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 39, no 12, p. 1601-1624Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores first-year university students' reasoning as they learn to draw Lewis structures. We also present a theoretical account of the formal procedure commonly taught for drawing these structures. Students' discussions during problem-solving activities were video recorded and detailed analyses of the discussions were made through the use of practical epistemology analysis (PEA). Our results show that the formal procedure was central for drawing Lewis structures, but its use varied depending on situational aspects. Commonly, the use of individual steps of the formal procedure was contingent on experiences of chemical structures, and other information such as the characteristics of the problem given. The analysis revealed a number of patterns in how students constructed, checked and modified the structure in relation to the formal procedure and the situational aspects. We suggest that explicitly teaching the formal procedure as a process of constructing, checking and modifying might be helpful for students learning to draw Lewis structures. By doing so, the students may learn to check the accuracy of the generated structure not only in relation to the octet rule and formal charge, but also to other experiences that are not explicitly included in the formal procedure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 39, no 12, p. 1601-1624
Keywords [en]
Chemistry education, problem-solving, Lewis structures
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147241DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2017.1342053ISI: 000409177000002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147241DiVA, id: diva2:1143108
Available from: 2017-09-20 Created: 2017-09-20 Last updated: 2019-01-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Supporting Learning and Teaching of Chemistry in the Undergraduate Classroom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Supporting Learning and Teaching of Chemistry in the Undergraduate Classroom
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There is agreement in research about the need to find better ways of teaching chemistry to enhance students’ understanding. This thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of how we better support teaching and learning of undergraduate chemistry to make it meaningful and intelligible for students from the outset. The thesis is concerned with examining the interactions between student, specific content and teacher in the undergraduate chemistry classroom; that is, the processes making up the three relations of the didactic triangle. The data consists of observations of students and tutors during problem-solving activities in an introductory chemistry course and interviews with graduate students.

Systematic analyses of the different interactions between the student, the chemistry content, and the tutor are made using the analytical tool of practical epistemology analysis. The main findings of the thesis include detailed insights into how undergraduate chemistry students deal with newly encountered content together with didactic models and concrete suggestions for improved teaching and for supporting continuity and progression in the undergraduate chemistry classroom. Specifically, I show how students deal with the chemistry content through a complex interaction of knowledge, experiences, and purposes on different levels invoked by both students and tutors as they interact with each other. Whether these interactions have a positive or negative effect on students’ learning depends on the nature of knowledge, experiences and purposes that were invoked. Moreover, the tutor sometimes invoked other purposes than the ones related to the task at hand for connecting the activity to the subject matter in general. These purposes were not always made continuous with the activity which resulting in confusion among students. The results from these analyses were used for producing hypotheses and models that could support continuity and progression during the activity. The suggested models aim to make the content more manageable and meaningful to students, enabling connections to other experiences and purposes, and helping teachers and tutors to analyze and reflect on their teaching. Moreover, a purpose- and activity-based progression is suggested that gives attention to purposes in chemistry education other than providing explanations of chemical phenomena. The aim of this ‘progression in action’ is to engage students in activities were they can see the meaning of chemical concepts and ideas through their use to accomplish different chemical tasks. A general conclusion is that detailed knowledge about the processes of teaching and learning is important for providing adequate support to both undergraduate students and university teachers in the chemistry classroom.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 70
Series
Doctoral thesis from the department of mathematics and science education ; 20
Keywords
undergraduate chemistry education, learning and teaching processes, didactic triangle, chemical bonding, tutor-student interaction, practical epistemology analysis, continuity, progression, purposes
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-163805 (URN)978-91-7797-538-0 (ISBN)978-91-7797-539-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-02-22, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Accepted. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-01-30 Created: 2019-01-09 Last updated: 2019-01-22Bibliographically approved

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