Chemistry learning involves establishing conceptual relationships among macroscopic, microscopic, and symbolic representations. Employing the notion of intertextuality to conceptualize these relationships, this study investigates how class members interactionally construct meanings of chemical representations by connecting them to real-life experiences and how the teachers' content knowledge shapes their ways to coconstruct intertextual links with students. Multiple sources of data were collected over 7 weeks with a participation of 25 eleventh graders, an experienced teacher, and a student teacher. An examination of classroom discourse shows that the intertextual links between the microscopic view of chemistry and students' real-life experiences could be initiated by students and instigated by the teachers. The teachers applied several discursive strategies to scaffold students building meaningful links based on their prior knowledge and experiences. Additionally, the experienced teacher with stronger content knowledge tended to present links in both dialogic and monologic discourses. Yet, the relatively limited content knowledge did not necessarily constrain the student teacher's interactions with students. The findings of this study provide a backdrop for further research to explore how chemistry is learned and taught in a class through the social constructivist lens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science