Nahyr Rovira-Figueroa, Mary Nakhleh (Purdue University, USA)
At high school level, students are expected to predict the behavior of the chemical systems at equilibrium. Numerous research studies have evidenced that high school students presented difficulties with this topic. Several studies have suggested that lab-instruction may benefit students by providing concrete situations and practical experiences. Therefore, we investigated how the lab-instruction about chemical equilibrium might help high school students to construct and apply meaningful mental models of macroscopic, molecular, and symbolic representational levels and understand this topic. In this study, high school student-constructed concept maps that emerged from pre- & post-lab instructional interviews about chemical equilibrium were assessed and scored against a teacher map using a rubric. Student-constructed concept maps and interviews proved to be helpful tools to assess students’ understanding of chemical equilibrium and students’ use of the 3-representational levels. Results revealed that the students did make at least some use of each of the 3-representational levels.