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ERIC Number: EJ918566
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Lost in Lewis Structures: An Investigation of Student Difficulties in Developing Representational Competence
Cooper, Melanie M.; Grove, Nathaniel; Underwood, Sonia M.; Klymkowsky, Michael W.
Journal of Chemical Education, v87 n8 p869-874 Aug 2010
Because Lewis structures provide a direct connection between molecular structure and properties, the ability to construct and use them is an integral component of many chemistry courses. Although a great deal of time and effort has been dedicated to development of "foolproof" rules, students still have problems with the skill. What is more, many students fail to connect the skill with the reasons for learning it. In fact, it appears that conventional instructional practices involved in teaching Lewis structures are in direct conflict with much of what we know about how people learn. In support of this assertion, we present the results of a mixed-methods study designed to investigate how students at all levels draw Lewis structures, and how students perceive the utility of Lewis structures. We offer suggestions for alternative methods of developing this skill in order to provide students with an approach to meaningful learning. (Contains 4 notes, 1 table, and 4 figures.)
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: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A