Scaffolding Students' Online Critiquing of Expert- and Peer-generated Molecular Models of Chemical Reactions

Hsin Yi Chang*, Hsiang Chi Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we developed online critiquing activities using an open-source computer learning environment. We investigated how well the activities scaffolded students to critique molecular models of chemical reactions made by scientists, peers, and a fictitious peer, and whether the activities enhanced the students' understanding of science models and chemical reactions. The activities were implemented in an eighth-grade class with 28 students in a public junior high school in southern Taiwan. The study employed mixed research methods. Data collected included pre- and post-instructional assessments, post-instructional interviews, and students' electronic written responses and oral discussions during the critiquing activities. The results indicated that these activities guided the students to produce overall quality critiques. Also, the students developed a more sophisticated understanding of chemical reactions and scientific models as a result of the intervention. Design considerations for effective model critiquing activities are discussed based on observational results, including the use of peer-generated artefacts for critiquing to promote motivation and collaboration, coupled with critiques of scientific models to enhance students' epistemological understanding of model purpose and communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2028-2056
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Learning environment
  • Modelling
  • Online critiquing
  • Scaffolding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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