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ERIC Number: EJ1079293
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Uncovering Chemical Thinking in Students' Decision Making: A Fuel-Choice Scenario
Banks, Gregory; Clinchot, Michael; Cullipher, Steven; Huie, Robert; Lambertz, Jennifer; Lewis, Rebecca; Ngai, Courtney; Sevian, Hannah; Szteinberg, Gabriela; Talanquer, Vicente; Weinrich, Melissa
Journal of Chemical Education, v92 n10 p1610-1618 Oct 2015
Making decisions about the production and use of chemical substances is of central importance in many fields. In this study, a research team comprising teachers and educational researchers collaborated in collecting and analyzing cognitive interviews with students from 8th grade through first-year university general chemistry in an effort to map progression in students' ability to make decisions about the consequences of using and producing chemicals. Study participants were asked to explain their reasoning about which fuel would be best to power a small vehicle. Data were analyzed using a "chemical thinking" lens to characterize conceptual sophistication and complexity of reasoning. Results revealed that most reasoning was intuitive in conceptual sophistication and relational in argumentative nature, driven by the consequences of using the fuels based on their composition. Implications are discussed for the design of learning experiences and assessments that better support students' development of decision-making using chemical knowledge.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; Middle Schools; Junior High Schools; High Schools; Grade 8; Elementary Education; Grade 9; Grade 10; Grade 11; Grade 12; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1221494; DRL1222624