Using student-generated animations: the challenge of dynamic chemical models in states of matter and the invisibility of the particles
This research investigates the use of student-generated animations in the teaching and learning of chemistry. Previous research has identified the potential for animations to contribute to student learning in science. In particular, animations have the capacity to represent the dynamic process and motions that may be inherent in some chemical concepts. This study focuses on animations that students produced with the support of their teacher and fellow students. The participants in the study were Year 11 science students and their science teacher. The teaching intervention included training the students in the use of animation software, followed by the students working in groups to create animations representing their conceptions of solid, liquid and gaseous states of matter, watching expert animations and classroom discussions. Students were supported by their teacher and encouraged to discuss ideas as they constructed their animations. Data collection included pre- and post-tests, classroom observation, video recording of lessons, collection of artefacts (the students’ animations, expert animations) and interviews with the teacher and students. Use of the student-generated animations created an opportunity to represent and discuss conceptions of the states of matter, including dynamic elements of their conceptualization. The teacher's scaffolding of the groups during the creation of their animations helped students to accurately represent their conceptions. In their analysis of the various animations, students identified differences and similarities among their animations. Data from pre-/post-tests, observations and interviews indicate that the students improved their understanding of states of matter through the teaching/learning process that occurred during the intervention.