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ERIC Number: EJ943202
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1756-1108
The Role of Multiple Representations in the Understanding of Ideal Gas Problems
Madden, Sean P.; Jones, Loretta L.; Rahm, Jrene
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v12 n3 p283-293 2011
This study examined the representational competence of students as they solved problems dealing with the temperature-pressure relationship for ideal gases. Seven students enrolled in a first-semester general chemistry course and two advanced undergraduate science majors participated in the study. The written work and transcripts from videotaped think-aloud sessions were evaluated with a rubric designed to identify essential features of representational competence, as well as differences in student use of multiple representations. The data showed that both beginning and advanced chemistry students tend to prefer one type of representation. However, advanced students were more likely to use their preferred representations in a heuristic manner to establish meaning for other representations. Students were found to build conceptual understanding most easily when using familiar types of representations. Molecular-level sketches representing dynamic concepts not easily represented as static images, such as an increase in average molecular velocity, were the most difficult type of representation for students to interpret. These results suggest that students may benefit from instructional strategies that emphasize the heuristic use of multiple representations in chemistry problem solving. (Contains 4 tables and 3 figures.)
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: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A