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ERIC Number: EJ1028616
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Students' Understanding of Chemical Formulae: A Review of Empirical Research
Taskin, Vahide; Bernholt, Sascha
International Journal of Science Education, v36 n1 p157-185 2014
The fluent use of the chemical language is a major tool for successfully passing chemistry courses at school or university as well as for working as a chemist, since chemical formulae are both a descriptive and a heuristic tool. However, numerous studies have revealed remarkable difficulties of students with chemical formulae both at school and at university. Although analysed for decades, current studies and practical experiences indicate that the misinterpretation of symbolic representations by students is still an ongoing problem. This review intends not only to summarize but also to categorize students' problems and difficulties when dealing with chemical formulae as reported in empirical studies. For this purpose, two categories of descriptive character were deduced from the empirical data: the type of chemical formulae and the operational activities that were required in the tasks of the studies. All in all, 38 articles were analysed on the basis of these categories. Students' problems and difficulties are then reflected based on three main problem areas: language-based problems, problems due to conceptual understanding, and problems due to inadequate selection and interpretation of formulae. These three areas call for a broader perspective in the interpretation of students' problems and thus lead to a discussion of implications for further research and changes in teaching practice.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A