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Bridging students’ experience of learning chemistry.

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Presentation on theme: "Bridging students’ experience of learning chemistry."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bridging students’ experience of learning chemistry

2 The chemistry course NQF Level 4 – 12 credits Equivalent to NZ Year 12 54 hours class contact time delivered over 18 weeks One 90 minute lab session per week Designed for students pathwaying into nursing, teaching or engineering degrees 90% of students are female and studying towards nursing A grade of B or better is needed for entry to a BN degree

3 Participants’ backgrounds Participant Pseudonym AgeEthnicity Mele45Samoan Ngaire35NZ Maori John27Samoan Tina25Samoan Ruby22NZ Maori Anh21Vietnamese Elizabeth21Samoan Suli20Tongan Annie19South African Maggie19NZ European Nisha18Indian Indira17Indian

4 Changing Ethnicity of Chemistry Students 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 200020032007 % NZ European Maori Pasifika Indian Other

5 Strongly Disagree 432 Strongly Agree 25 20 15 10 5 0 Fre que ncy Positive attitudes at the start of the course Responses to the question: I am well prepared for studying chemistry this semester (n = 62)

6 ParticipantOutcome (final) grade MaggieA (89%) RubyA- (84%) AnhB+ (78%) AnnieC- (51%) IndiraE (25%) MeleANA (Aegrotat not approved) JohnW (Withdrawn) ElizabethNC (Did not complete) NgaireNC NishaNC SuliNC TinaNC Participants’ outcomes

7 Diagram of glucoseDiagram of cholesterol Investigating learning in organic chemistry

8 m ÷ n x M Formulaic triangle provided in assessments to assist students with mole calculations where n = number of moles; M = relative molar mass or relative molecular weight and m = mass (in grams) Investigating learning of mole concepts

9 Able to convert grams ↔ moles Able to calculate amounts using a stoichiometric equation Able to explain why chemists use the mole MaggieYes In part RubyYes In part AnhYes No IndiraYes*No AnnieYes*No NgaireUnknown No MeleNo Participants’ later understandings of the mole * Not confirmed on inspection of exam scripts

10 Investigating understanding of concentration (1)

11 Which is bigger? 0.15 mol/L or 0.2 mol/L. Investigating understanding of concentration (2)

12 In chemistry you have to sort of think, you can’t really visualise or anything, although I find with chemistry it is more memorising you know. Researcher - There is a lot of memory work? Yeah you just have to rote learn it.(Anh, 16 November) The hardest was heat exchange. It is probably like the easiest thing, but it just confused me. … As soon as I got into my exam I wrote it down otherwise it would confuse me later. (Maggie, 5 December) Reliance on memorisation and rote learning – Fatima’s Rules (L arson, 1995)

13 Um – titrations. Researcher – That was easy for you? Yes – like I practiced it [the calculations] quite a bit and got the hang of it and it was quite easy. Researcher – So you got a good mark for that? Yes I got 13 out of 15. Researcher – That’s good because you struggled with moles, didn’t you? Yes I still don’t understand anything to do with moles but somehow titration was easy for me.(Annie, 28 November)

14 Analysis of learning experiences through the lens of border crossing Science has a distinct culture of language and values (Ziman 2000) Learning in science can be seen as an initiation into a new culture – a cross-cultural activity (Cobern and Aikenhead (1998) Students must travel from their everyday life-world to the world of science found in their science classroom (Jegede and Aikenhead 1999, p.46) Students might experience these border crossings in 4 ways (Costa, 1995)

15 SmoothManagedHazardousVirtually Impossible congruent worldsdifferent worldsdiverse worldsdiscordant worlds in which students resist MaggieMele Indira Annie (initial) RubyAnnie (end) Anh Border crossing transitions

16 I didn’t get it and I didn’t like it because I didn’t get it and I thought it was pointless. (Annie, 7 August) Yeah actually it was kind of surprising. It was like someone turned a light on. Like at the end of last term it was OK but it just kind of clicked [sound of snapping fingers](Ruby, 31 October) Border crossing transitions


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