STUDYING STUDENTS’ UNDERSTANDING OF THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN THE MICROSCOPIC AND THE MACROSCOPIC DESCRIPTIONS IN CHEMISTRY

TitleSTUDYING STUDENTS’ UNDERSTANDING OF THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN THE MICROSCOPIC AND THE MACROSCOPIC DESCRIPTIONS IN CHEMISTRY
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsMammino, L, Cardellini, L
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Volume4
Issue1
Start Page51-62
Date PublishedMarch/2005
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1648-3898
Other NumbersICID: 452542
Keywordsgeneral chemistry courses, macroscopic description, microscopic description
Abstract

The perception of the distinction and interplay between concepts and models pertaining to the description of the microscopic level and those pertaining to the description of the macroscopic level is a key feature largely determining conceptual understanding in chemistry. Information about the extent and clarity of such perception can therefore be valuable for the design and optimisation of approaches to the presentation of basic and general chemistry material. The paper presents the outcomes of an investigation in this regard, performed by subsequently administering three specifically designed questionnaires to a group of first year students taking a general chemistry course. The discussion considers both the conceptual and the practical relevance of the issue and extends to inferences for classroom work and for the general approaches to chemistry teaching.
The study presented here was diagnostic in character, with specific focus on students’ beliefs and perceptions about the distinction and interplay of the two levels of description in chemistry. Since the two levels and their interplay are an integral part of the entire body of chemistry, the questionnaires utilised covered a considerable proportion of the content of a general chemistry course. The results enable the inference that the design of the questionnaires was apt for the objectives of the study. A comparison between the study at NUL and the study in the Italian context highlights the relevance of the second and third questionnaires for the information to be more complete and detailed. The quick survey carried out in 1998 highlighted the relevance of the second questionnaire to complement the information of the first one – the comparison with the first survey showed that the examples chosen by the students filling the second questionnaire enabled a deeper insight into their “practical” views and their perceptions not only of the individual entries, but of the issue as a whole.

URLhttp://journals.indexcopernicus.com/abstracted.php?level=5&icid=452542
Refereed DesignationRefereed