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ERIC Number: EJ1154147
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Thinking Processes Associated with Undergraduate Chemistry Students' Success at Applying a Molecular-Level Model in a New Context
Teichert, Melonie A.; Tien, Lydia T.; Dysleski, Lisa; Rickey, Dawn
Journal of Chemical Education, v94 n9 p1195-1208 Sep 2017
This study investigated relationships between the thinking processes that 28 undergraduate chemistry students engaged in during guided discovery and their subsequent success at reasoning through a transfer problem during an end-of-semester interview. During a guided-discovery laboratory module, students were prompted to use words, pictures, and symbols to make their mental models of chemical compounds added to water explicit, both prior to the start ("initial model") and at the end ("refined model") of the module. Based on their responses to these model assignments, we characterized students' knowledge and thinking processes, including the extent to which individual students engaged in (a) constructing molecular-level models that were consistent with experimental evidence; (b) constructing molecular-level models that progressed toward scientific accuracy; (c) constructing molecular-level models that were scientifically correct; (d) making connections between laboratory observations and the molecular-level behavior of particles; (e) accurate metacognitive monitoring of how their molecular-level models changed; and (f) using evidence to justify model refinements. Analyses revealed three thinking processes that were strongly associated with correct reasoning in the transfer context during an end-of-semester interview: constructing molecular-level models that were consistent with experimental evidence, engaging in accurate metacognitive monitoring, and using evidence to justify model refinements. The extent of student engagement in these three key thinking processes predicted correct reasoning in a new context better than the scientific correctness of a student's content knowledge prior to instruction. Although we did not explore causal relationships, these results suggest that integrating activities that promote the key thinking processes identified into instruction may improve students' understanding and success at transfer.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF); Office of Naval Research (ONR)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0208029; 0618829