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ERIC Number: EJ880349
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 44
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 81
ISSN: ISSN-1050-8406
Learning Processes in Chemistry: Drawing upon Cognitive Resources to Learn about the Particulate Structure of Matter
Taber, Keith S.; Garcia-Franco, Alejandra
Journal of the Learning Sciences, v19 n1 p99-142 2010
This article explores 11- to 16-year-old students' explanations for phenomena commonly studied in school chemistry from an inclusive cognitive resources or knowledge-in-pieces perspective that considers that student utterances may reflect the activation of knowledge elements at a range of levels of explicitness. We report 5 themes in student explanations that we consider to derive from implicit knowledge elements activated in cognition. Student thinking in chemistry has commonly been examined from a "misconceptions" or "alternative conceptions/frameworks" perspective, in which the focus has been on the status of learners' explicit conceptions. This approach has been valuable, but it fails to explain the origins or nature of the full range of alternative ideas reported. In physics education, the cognitive resources perspective has led to work to characterize implicit knowledge elements--described as phenomenological primitives (p-prims)--that provide learners with an intuitive sense of mechanism. School chemistry offers a complementary knowledge domain because of its focus on the nature of materials and its domination by theoretical models that explain observable phenomena in terms of emergent properties of complex ensembles of "quanticles" (molecules, ions, electrons, atoms, etc.) The themes reported in this study suggest a need to recognize primitive knowledge elements beyond those reported from physics education and suggest that some previously characterized p-prims may be better considered to derive from more broadly applicable intuitive knowledge elements. (Contains 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)