Unpacking the meaning of the mole concept for secondary school teachers and students

Su Chi Fang*, Christina Hart, David Clarke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The "mole" is a fundamental concept in quantitative chemistry, yet research has shown that the mole is one of the most perplexing concepts in the teaching and learning of chemistry. This paper provides a survey of the relevant literature, identifies the necessary components of a sound understanding of the mole concept, and unpacks and presents these components in the form of a concept map. The concept map incorporates the atomic-molecular concept with the mole concept, and connects the two concepts by two linking ideas: the number aspect of the SI definition (linking idea 1) and the connection between relative atomic-molecular mass and molar mass (linking idea 2). This concept map not only provides a conceptual framework for making meaning in relation to the mole but also sheds some light on how the concept might be better taught and learned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-356
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar 11
Externally publishedYes


  • Atomic Properties/Structure
  • High School/Introductory Chemistry
  • Misconceptions/Discrepant Events
  • Stoichiometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Education


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