Promoting understanding of chemical representations: Students' use of a visualization tool in the classroom

Hsin Kai Wu, Joseph S. Krajcik, Elliot Soloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

323 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many students have difficulty learning symbolic and molecular representations of chemistry. This study investigated how students developed an understanding of chemical representations with the aid of a computer-based visualizing tool, eChem, that allowed them to build molecular models and view multiple representations simultaneously. Multiple sources of data were collected with the participation of 71 eleventh graders at a small public high school over a 6-week period. The results of pre-and posttests showed that students' understanding of chemical representations improved substantially (p<.001, effect size = 2.68). The analysis of video recordings revealed that several features in eChem helped students construct models and translate representations. Students who were highly engaged in discussions while using eChem made referential linkages between visual and conceptual aspects of representations. This in turn may have deepened their understanding of chemical representations and concepts. The findings also suggest that computerized models can serve as a vehicle for students to generate mental images. Finally, students demonstrated their preferences of certain types of representations and did not use all types of three-dimensional models interchangeably.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-842
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume38
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Sep 1

Fingerprint

students' representation
visualization
classroom
student
video recording
learning disorder
chemistry
participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Promoting understanding of chemical representations : Students' use of a visualization tool in the classroom. / Wu, Hsin Kai; Krajcik, Joseph S.; Soloway, Elliot.

In: Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Vol. 38, No. 7, 01.09.2001, p. 821-842.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{889a13da351b4f15b21193b630e41405,
title = "Promoting understanding of chemical representations: Students' use of a visualization tool in the classroom",
abstract = "Many students have difficulty learning symbolic and molecular representations of chemistry. This study investigated how students developed an understanding of chemical representations with the aid of a computer-based visualizing tool, eChem, that allowed them to build molecular models and view multiple representations simultaneously. Multiple sources of data were collected with the participation of 71 eleventh graders at a small public high school over a 6-week period. The results of pre-and posttests showed that students' understanding of chemical representations improved substantially (p<.001, effect size = 2.68). The analysis of video recordings revealed that several features in eChem helped students construct models and translate representations. Students who were highly engaged in discussions while using eChem made referential linkages between visual and conceptual aspects of representations. This in turn may have deepened their understanding of chemical representations and concepts. The findings also suggest that computerized models can serve as a vehicle for students to generate mental images. Finally, students demonstrated their preferences of certain types of representations and did not use all types of three-dimensional models interchangeably.",
author = "Wu, {Hsin Kai} and Krajcik, {Joseph S.} and Elliot Soloway",
year = "2001",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/tea.1033",
language = "English",
volume = "38",
pages = "821--842",
journal = "Journal of Research in Science Teaching",
issn = "0022-4308",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Inc.",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Promoting understanding of chemical representations

T2 - Students' use of a visualization tool in the classroom

AU - Wu, Hsin Kai

AU - Krajcik, Joseph S.

AU - Soloway, Elliot

PY - 2001/9/1

Y1 - 2001/9/1

N2 - Many students have difficulty learning symbolic and molecular representations of chemistry. This study investigated how students developed an understanding of chemical representations with the aid of a computer-based visualizing tool, eChem, that allowed them to build molecular models and view multiple representations simultaneously. Multiple sources of data were collected with the participation of 71 eleventh graders at a small public high school over a 6-week period. The results of pre-and posttests showed that students' understanding of chemical representations improved substantially (p<.001, effect size = 2.68). The analysis of video recordings revealed that several features in eChem helped students construct models and translate representations. Students who were highly engaged in discussions while using eChem made referential linkages between visual and conceptual aspects of representations. This in turn may have deepened their understanding of chemical representations and concepts. The findings also suggest that computerized models can serve as a vehicle for students to generate mental images. Finally, students demonstrated their preferences of certain types of representations and did not use all types of three-dimensional models interchangeably.

AB - Many students have difficulty learning symbolic and molecular representations of chemistry. This study investigated how students developed an understanding of chemical representations with the aid of a computer-based visualizing tool, eChem, that allowed them to build molecular models and view multiple representations simultaneously. Multiple sources of data were collected with the participation of 71 eleventh graders at a small public high school over a 6-week period. The results of pre-and posttests showed that students' understanding of chemical representations improved substantially (p<.001, effect size = 2.68). The analysis of video recordings revealed that several features in eChem helped students construct models and translate representations. Students who were highly engaged in discussions while using eChem made referential linkages between visual and conceptual aspects of representations. This in turn may have deepened their understanding of chemical representations and concepts. The findings also suggest that computerized models can serve as a vehicle for students to generate mental images. Finally, students demonstrated their preferences of certain types of representations and did not use all types of three-dimensional models interchangeably.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0035445513&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0035445513&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/tea.1033

DO - 10.1002/tea.1033

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0035445513

VL - 38

SP - 821

EP - 842

JO - Journal of Research in Science Teaching

JF - Journal of Research in Science Teaching

SN - 0022-4308

IS - 7

ER -