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Elucidating Higher Echelon Concepts Through Refinement of Fundamentals

by Choudhry, Abdus (Rumi)

Abstract (Summary)
An Abstract of Elucidating Higher Echelon Concepts Through Refinement of Fundamentals By Abdus (Rumi) Choudhry Submitted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for The Master of Science and Education in Education and Chemistry The University of Toledo December 2006 Chemical education research over the last two decades suggests that pedagogic practices contribute to a dichotomy between regular problem solving and concept articulation. Similar generalizations do not necessarily extend to every tertiary environment, yet it is likely that general chemistry students commence studies with hazy distinctions between empirical phenomena and corresponding molecular interpretation. Therefore a research hypothesis was tertiary learners retain diffuse knowledge of molecules, energy and force which, if crystallized, could foster meaningful learning of newer pedagogy. An attempt was made at to refine chemistry fundamentals and subsequently build the more advanced concepts of polarity and polarizability. Guided instruction was the metacognitive strategy offered to aid students to develop better awareness and coordination of earlier knowledge. Fourteen General Chemistry I students participated in the l study and wrote a pre-test beforehand. Pre-test results indicated a similar knowledge of liquids, intermolecular attractions and covalent bonds. Most students thought covalent bonds cleaved during phase changes. Ten total people participated in experimental instructional sessions while four students silently read the General Chemistry I text. The text chapters covered atomic structure and intermolecular forces. Silent reading was considered the most practical simulation of a regular General Chemistry I class. Experimental instruction utilized qualitative physics to elucidate molecular level phase behavior and to articulate molecular features which correspond to polarity and polarizability. Idea of synergistic balance of kinetic and potential energy aided experimental students in understanding the constancy of temperature for known phase changes. Intermolecular forces were susbsequently developed with interactive dialogue. Post-test results indicated experimental students could partially differentiate molecular polarity from polarizability. A number of participants still experienced difficulty applying VSEPR formalism for polarity and articulating polarizability. Experimental students partially articulated electrostatic bases necessary for adequate differentiation between nonpolar molecules of a given pair. Control students compared favorably in some areas, but overall experimental students demonstrated enough comprehension to manifest measurable benefits of guided instruction. The current research enabled students to gain some metacognitive awareness of molecular features which determine whether polarity or polarizability was operative.
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School:University of Toledo

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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