ERG SES F 02, Parallel Session F 02
Science is in our daily lives. Whether we realize it or not science is in our everyday lives. Students engage with science by formal or informal way. Many studies on science education suggest that students experience difficulty in comprehending science (Helm, 1980). Students construct concepts which are not related to scientific ones because of abstract chemistry concepts. In the literature that many of the students’ concepts about natural phenomenon are extremely different from the scientific ones, called alternative concepts (Driver & Easley, 1978). Alternative concepts are the main source of the difficulties students in learning chemistry concepts. It is very difficult to destroy the alternative concepts. Most of studies have shown that even after formal instruction students don’t bring their alternative concepts (Duit & Treagust, 1998).
Scientist use models to explain macroscopic nature, to predict events and to help students to understand chemical reactivity (Coll & Taylor, 2002). Harrison and Treagust (1996) suggest that to understand chemistry topics is to understand the models used by scientist. Models and modeling is very important in chemistry because models let the abstract chemistry concepts understandable. Students construct their own models to understand scientists’ models (Rapp, 2005). These models are called as mental models. An understanding of students’ mental models is important because mental models allow the teacher to comprehend their students’ ideas about scientific models.
Science education researchers investigate students’ mental models to gain their ideas of science topics. In the science education literature many studies are reported about students’ mental models in science and chemistry. Students are expected to understand scientific models and develop their mental models for chemical bond. In the science literature there have been studies of students’ mental models for chemical bonding, mostly secondary school level.
The purpose of this study is to investigate undergraduate students’ mental models for ionic bonding. In this study undergraduate students’ mental models of ionic bonding are focused. They are expected to understand scientific or consensus teaching models. The specific research questions that wants to answer through this research is:
1. What are students’ mental models of ionic bonding?
Science education literature suggested that advanced-level students have clearer understanding for ionic bonding, also have clear understanding of what limitations such model possess. I wish to understand how our students’ mental models for ionic bonding and compare the literature reports.
Coll, R.K., & Taylor, N. (2002). Mental models in chemistry: Senior chemistry students’ mental models of chemical bonding. Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europa, 3(2), 175-184. Driver, R., & Easley, J. (1978) Pupils and paradigms; a review of literature related to concept development in adolescent science students. Studies in Science Education, 5, 61-84. Duit, R., & Treagust, D. (1998). Learning in science: From behaviorism towards social constructivism and beyond. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International Handbook of Science Education, (pp. 3-25). Dordrecht: Kluwer. Harrison, A. G. & Treagust, D. F. (1996). Secondary students’ mental models of atoms and molecules: implications for teaching chemistry. Science Education, 80(5), 509-534. Helm, H. (1980). Alternative conceptions in physics amongst south african students, Physics Education, 15, 92–105. Linder, C.L. (1989) A case study of university physics students' conceptualizations of sound. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of British Columbia, Canada. Rapp, D. N. (2005). Mental models: Theoretical issues for visualizations in science education. Visualization in Science Education, 43-60.
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