High school students’ understanding of molecular representations in a context-based multi-model chemistry learning approach

Shirly Avargil, Ran Piorko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context-Based Learning (CBL) and learning through developing and using models are two important teaching approaches for chemistry conceptual understanding. We aimed to examine the influence of a CBL approach on students’ understanding of Multiple Models of Knowledge Representations (MMKRs) and multiple molecular representations. Research participants included high-school students in three different research groups. The context-based group (N = 271) studied food chemistry in a CBL approach. The traditional group studied according to the traditional curriculum (high-school organic chemistry), and the traditional + food group studied according to the traditional curriculum, with the addition of food-related topics (N = 99). The context-based group had a greater effect on increasing students’ ability to understand and relate to MMKRs and manipulate and connect among various multiple molecular representations (both indicators for conceptual understanding in chemistry). Food chemistry topics were also beneficial for students who did not learn in a CBL approach, however, with a lower effect. More students in the context-based group have shifted to being high achievers. Additionally, low-achievers have progressed significantly more than medium and high achievers. This research connects CBL to aspects of the practice of ‘developing and using models’ in chemistry, and a way to look at, and assess, conceptual understanding in chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Funding

FundersFunder number
National Institute on AgingR01AG017753

    Keywords

    • Context-based learning
    • chemistry
    • conceptual understanding

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