Student misconceptions : identifying and reformulating what they bring to the chemistry table
The primary goal of this project was to investigate methods of identifying student misconceptions as they related to the particulate nature of matter, and then to determine what types of treatments might be effective toward helping students redefine their concepts. Misconceptions were identified through the Particulate Nature of Matter Assessment, as well as through knowledge probes and the Conceptual Change Model. The primary methods of treatment included laboratory activities, model building and animations. Post-assessments and interviews revealed an improvement in the understanding of molecular size and conductivity of solutions at a conceptual level, while student understanding of phase changes did not improve as much. Interviews and small group discussion proved to be surprisingly useful and hold promise for future lesson planning.