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An examination of preservice elementary teachers’ representations about chemistry in an intertextuality- and modeling-based course

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Abstract

The chemistry education aspect of elementary teacher education faces a unique set of challenges. On one hand, preservice and in-service elementary teachers tend to not like chemistry and have negative feelings toward chemistry. On the other hand, learning chemistry requires reasoning about natural phenomena from the submicroscopic perspective that deals with the properties and behaviors of unobservable particles. The present study addresses these challenges in chemistry education for preservice elementary teachers (PSETs) by designing a chemistry curriculum that improves the relevance of chemistry learning to students via intertextuality and modeling practices. An analysis of chemistry representations that PSETs generated before and after taking the designed chemistry course demonstrates that they initially perceived chemistry as vivid chemical changes occurring in lab spaces or a discipline related to atoms while failing to provide connections between the chemical reactions and atoms. After taking the course, many students came to see doing chemistry as epistemic practices that construct submicroscopic explanations for observable phenomena and its relevance to everyday lives such as food, car emissions, and their local surroundings. They also came to recognize various epistemic roles that people play in doing chemistry. We provide important implications for engaging PSETs in chemical reasoning and designing chemistry curricula that are more approachable and build on learners’ knowledge resources.

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 Aug 2017, accepted on 18 Mar 2018 and first published on 20 Mar 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7RP00150A
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2018, Advance Article
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    An examination of preservice elementary teachers’ representations about chemistry in an intertextuality- and modeling-based course

    M. Ryu, J. E. Nardo and M. Y. M. Wu, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7RP00150A

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