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Relationships between models used for teaching chemistry and those expressed by students
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is focused upon chemistry as a school subject and students' interpretations and use of formally introduced teaching models. To explore students' developing repertoire of chemical models, a longitudinal interview study was undertaken spanning the first year of upper secondary school chemistry. Matter in its different states was selected as the target framework for this study. The results presented are derived from both generalisations of groups of students as well as a case study describing an individual learner's interpretation of formal content. The results obtained demonstrated that the formal teaching models provided to the students included in this study were not sufficient to afford them a coherent framework of matter in its different states or for chemical bonding. Instead, students' expressed models of matter and phase change were to a high degree dependent on electron movement (Paper I), anthropomorphism (Paper II) and, for one student, a mechanistic approach based on small particles and gravitation (Paper III). The results from this study place focus on the importance of learners' prior learning (previous experiences) and the need to develop a coherent framework of formal teaching models for the nature of matter and phase change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kalmar: Linnaeus university , 2012. , 83 p.
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 79/2012
Keyword [en]
chemistry didactics, particulate nature of matter, phase transition, student expressed models, Swedish school, teaching models
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Natural Science, Science Education; Natural Science, Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-17824ISBN: 978-91-86983-36-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-17824DiVA: diva2:506580
Public defence
2012-03-30, N2007, Västergård, Smålandsgatan 26A, Kalmar, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-02-29 Created: 2012-02-29 Last updated: 2012-02-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Developing chemical understanding in the explanatory vacuum: Swedish high school students' use of an anthropomorphic conceptual framework to make sense of chemical phenomena
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing chemical understanding in the explanatory vacuum: Swedish high school students' use of an anthropomorphic conceptual framework to make sense of chemical phenomena
2013 (English)In: Concepts of Matter in Science Education / [ed] Tsaparlis, G & Sevilan, H, Springer, 2013, 347-370 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The results presented here derive from a research project exploring 16-18 year old

Swedish upper secondary science students’ developing understandings of key

concepts for matter and phase change. In the Swedish educational context there is

limited prescription of what is taught at different grade levels, and students may only

meet scientific models of the submicroscopic structure of the matter some years after

considering the phenomena that these models have been developed to explain.

Students may develop alternative and sometimes idiosyncratic imaginative notions to

populate this ‘explanatory vacuum’. In this study we discuss one aspect of student

responses in a sequence of semi-structured interviews spread over a single school

year, viz. the common use of anthropomorphic language in student descriptions and

explanations of basic chemical phenomena – change of state, chemical bonding and

reactions. Such anthropomorphic language has been considered to have the potential

either to facilitate or impede progression in students’ learning in chemistry. In the

present study we found a high level of anthropomorphic language in students’

explanations. In some cases there were clear indications that our interviewees were

aware of the limitation of their anthropomorphic explanations, which could be

considered to take the role of temporary place-holder for technical ideas not yet

available. However, in many other instances anthropomorphism was used without any

indication of its limited explanatory power. In these circumstances anthropomorphic

explanations would appear to satisfy epistemic hunger, the human “need to ‘make

meaning’ and understand their surroundings” (De Jesus, Teixeira-Dias, & Watts,

2003, p. 1017), and take the place of canonical explanations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013
Series
Innovations in Science Education and Technology, ISSN 1873-1058 ; 19
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Natural Science, Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-17770 (URN)10.1007/978-94-007-5914-5_17 (DOI)9400759134 (ISBN)
Available from: 2012-02-24 Created: 2012-02-24 Last updated: 2014-12-17Bibliographically approved
2. Developing a way to view chemistry: a case study of one Swedish student’s rich conceptualisations to make sense of upper high school chemistry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing a way to view chemistry: a case study of one Swedish student’s rich conceptualisations to make sense of upper high school chemistry
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Natural Science, Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-17771 (URN)
Available from: 2012-02-24 Created: 2012-02-24 Last updated: 2012-05-15Bibliographically approved
3. Learners' Mental Models of the Particle Nature of Matter: A study of 16-year-old Swedish science students
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learners' Mental Models of the Particle Nature of Matter: A study of 16-year-old Swedish science students
2009 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 31, no 6, 757-786 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The results presented here derive from a longitudinal study of Swedish upper secondary science students' (16-19 years of age) developing understanding of key chemical concepts. The informants were 18 students from two different schools. The aim of the present study was to investigate the mental models of matter at the particulate level that learners develop. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews based around the students' own drawings of the atom, and of solids, liquids, and gases. The interview transcripts were analysed to identify patterns in the data that offer insight into aspects of student understanding. The findings are discussed in the specific curriculum context in Swedish schools. Results indicate that the teaching model of the atom (derived from Bohr's model) commonly presented by teachers and textbook authors in Sweden gives the students an image of a disproportionately large and immobile nucleus, emphasises a planetary model of the atom and gives rise to a chain of logic leading to immobility in the solid state and molecular breakdown during phase transitions. The findings indicate that changes in teaching approaches are required to better support learners in developing mental models that reflect the intended target knowledge.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Natural Science, Science Education; Natural Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-1718 (URN)10.1080/09500690701799383 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-04-06 Created: 2010-04-06 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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