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ERIC Number: EJ1166993
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jul
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1756-1108
Pushing for Particulate Level Models of Adiabatic and Isothermal Processes in Upper-Level Chemistry Courses: A Qualitative Study
Hernandez, Gabriel E.; Criswell, Brett A.; Kirk, Nancy J.; Sauder, Deborah G.; Rushton, Gregory T.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v15 n3 p354-365 Jul 2014
In the past three decades, researchers have noted the limitations of a problem-solving approach that overemphasizes algorithms and quantitation and neglects student misconceptions and an otherwise qualitative, conceptual understanding of chemical phenomena. Since then, studies and lessons designed to improve student understanding of chemistry has overwhelmingly targeted introductory level, high school and first-year college students. In this article, we present a model-based learning cycle approach with upper-level undergraduate and beginning graduate students that investigated their ability to model the adiabatic and isothermal compression/expansion of a gas in a syringe. We were interested to observe, given the extent of their previous chemistry coursework, how students struggled to connect macroscopic observations with particulate representations. Analysis of laboratory reports, reflective journal entries, and classroom discourse transcripts indicate the learning experience was efficacious in uncovering and addressing student conceptual challenges with using models appropriately to describe gas behaviour under the experimental conditions for this investigation.
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
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1035451; DRL1316347