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ERIC Number: EJ1077264
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1756-1108
Translating across Macroscopic, Submicroscopic, and Symbolic Levels: The Role of Instructor Facilitation in an Inquiry-Oriented Physical Chemistry Class
Becker, Nicole; Stanford, Courtney; Towns, Marcy; Cole, Renee
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v16 n4 p769-785 Oct 2015
In physical chemistry classrooms, mathematical and graphical representations are critical tools for reasoning about chemical phenomena. However, there is abundant evidence that to be successful in understanding complex thermodynamics topics, students must go beyond rote mathematical problem solving in order to connect their understanding of mathematical and graphical representations to the macroscopic and submicroscopic phenomena they represent. Though traditional curricular materials such as textbooks may provide little support for coordinating information across macroscopic, submicroscopic, and symbolic levels, instructor facilitation of classroom discussions offers a promising route towards supporting students' reasoning. Here, we report a case study of classroom reasoning in a POGIL (process-oriented guided inquiry learning) instructional context that examines how the class coordinated macroscopic, submicroscopic, and symbolic ideas through classroom discourse. Using an analytical approach based on Toulmin's model of argumentation and the inquiry-oriented discursive moves framework, we discuss the prevalence of macroscopic, submicroscopic and symbolic-level ideas in classroom reasoning and we discuss how instructor facilitation strategies promoted reasoning with macroscopic, submicroscopic, and symbolic levels of representation. We describe one sequence of instructor facilitation moves that we believe promoted translation across levels in whole class discussion.
Royal Society of Chemistry. Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF, UK. Tel: +44-1223 420066; Fax: +44-1223 423623; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0816792; 0817467; 0816948