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ERIC Number: ED559486
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 161
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3032-9658-1
Representing Chemistry: How Instructional Use of Symbolic, Microscopic, and Macroscopic Mode Influences Student Conceptual Understanding in Chemistry
Wood, Lorelei
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Arizona State University
Chemistry as a subject is difficult to learn and understand, due in part to the specific language used by practitioners in their professional and scientific communications. The language and ways of representing chemical interactions have been grouped into three modes of representation used by chemistry instructors, and ultimately by students in understanding the discipline. The first of these three modes of representation is the symbolic mode, which uses a standard set of rules for chemical nomenclature set out by the IUPAC. The second mode of representation is that of microscopic, which depicts chemical compounds as discrete units made up of atoms and molecules, with a particular ratio of atoms to a molecule or formula unit. The third mode of representation is macroscopic, what can be seen, experienced, or measured directly, like ice melting or a color change during a chemical reaction. Recent evidence suggests that chemistry instructors can assist their students in making the connections between the modes of representation by incorporating all three modes into their teaching and discussions, and overtly connecting the modes during instruction. In this research, chemistry teachers at the community college level were observed over the course of an entire semester, to evaluate their instructional use of mode of representation. The students of these teachers were tested prior to and after a semester's worth of instruction, and changes in the basic chemistry conceptual knowledge of these students were compared. Additionally, a subset of the overall population that was pre- and post-tested was interviewed at length using demonstrations of chemical phenomenon that students were asked to translate using all three modes of representation. Analysis of the instruction of three community college teachers shows there were significant differences among these teachers in their instructional use of mode of representation. Additionally, the students of these three teachers had differential and statistically significant achievement over the course of the semester. This research supports results of other similar studies, as well as providing some unexpected results from the students involved. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A