Exploring prospective chemistry teachers’ perceptions of precipitation, conception of precipitation reactions and visualization of the sub-microscopic level of precipitation reactions
In this study, how prospective chemistry teachers (PCTs) perceive precipitation and conceptualize precipitation reactions at the symbolic level was explored. Further, it was of interest to identify PCTs’ visualization of the sub-microscopic level of precipitation reactions. The sample was drawn from the Chemistry Education Department at the Education Faculty of a Turkish Public University. A total of 46 PCTs (10 in the 4th semester, 15 in the 6th semester, and 21 in the 8th semester) participated in the study. The data were collected using an instrument with three open-ended questions developed by the authors and with interviews. It was revealed that the PCTs thought about precipitation in qualitatively different ways depending on their practices of phenomena. The PCTs’ perceptions of precipitation were grouped into three issues coded as (1) reacting two salt solutions, (2) undissolved solid and (3) residue. It was found that half of the PCTs (24 of the 46 PCTs) did not use state symbols when writing the precipitation equations and more than half of them included the molecular dissolution features in their drawings. It was suggested that instruction should be to address incorporating a relation between the sub-microscopic, symbolic and macroscopic levels by using the animations.