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Issue 4, 2006
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Some aspects of students’ understanding of a representational model of the particulate nature of matter in chemistry in three different countries

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Abstract

This preliminary study is part of a cross-cultural study that investigates students’ understanding of a particulate model used for relating submicroscopic entities and processes to macroscopic events in chemistry. The study initially involved some selected secondary school science students in Nigeria (Grade 10; n = 224) and in Japan (Grade 12; n = 72) and was later repeated with first year preservice university science teachers (n = 27) in South Africa. Subjects were presented with several test items in which they were required to use the particle model to infer the macroscopic chemical events they are meant to depict. The results show that for many of the subjects across the three countries, making the association between submicroscopic models and macroscopic events was problematic and not entirely straightforward. Intuitive misunderstandings abounded. One implication of the findings so far for chemistry education is that students are not always able to display consistent reasoning about the particulate nature of matter unless they have appropriate representational model on which to base their thinking. The knowledge of their conceptual misunderstandings, however, provides a basis for a good teaching point and for changing pedagogical approaches. [Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2006, 7 (4), 226-239]

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Publication details

The article was received on 18 May 2006 and accepted on 15 Sep 2006


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B6RP90012G
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2006,7, 226-239
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    Some aspects of students’ understanding of a representational model of the particulate nature of matter in chemistry in three different countries

    G. O. M. Onwu and E. Randall, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2006, 7, 226
    DOI: 10.1039/B6RP90012G

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