Investigating conceptual chemical misconceptions in atomic structure and bonding in year 12 chemistry students

Smith, Katherine Emma (2020). Investigating conceptual chemical misconceptions in atomic structure and bonding in year 12 chemistry students. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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This project aims to ascertain the extent and cause of conceptual chemical misconceptions in the classroom and whether they can be rectified within the curriculum. Previous studies have indicated that misconceptions may exist in the subtopic of atomic structure and bonding. A case study on Atomic Structure and Bonding was carried out on a Year 12 cohort through a mixed methods approach; a 10-question Chemical Concept Inventory (CCI), classroom observation, interviews and concept maps. Although initial CCI responses appeared to indicate conceptual misunderstandings were present in the topics of stoichiometry and VSEPR, interview responses indicated otherwise. The stoichiometric incorrect answers were more likely due to terminological misunderstandings rather than conceptual issues. Participants’ oral explanations involving formulae and equations were often spoken incorrectly to the researcher, suggesting a potential reason for terminological issues was the ambiguity between coefficients, subscript and superscript numbers when orally stated. Thus, heightening educator awareness of this ambiguity along with the nature of terminology in the classroom can potentially help students fully grasp the chemical conventions. Similarly, VSEPR results suggested a lack of student knowledge rather than misconceptions, potentially due to the structure of how this topic is first introduced, possibly caused by time constraints.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Q Science > QD Chemistry


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