Arzu Tanis Ozcelik (Pennsylvania State University, USA), Scott McDonald (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Research suggests that teachers should engage students in the kind of discourse and representation use that parallel the practices of science. Visual representations are an integral part of chemistry and thus should be part of chemistry teaching; however many students have difficulty understanding the symbolic and molecular representations of chemistry. The current study explores two research questions: 1) What kinds of representations do preservice chemistry teachers use in teaching? 2) How and why do two preservice chemistry teachers use representations when teaching “properties of solids, liquids and gases” and “physical properties of gases?” Findings suggested that preservice chemistry teachers use a variety of representations for multiple purposes. These purposes include engaging students in scientific practice, formative assessment, and providing data or example for the concept or phenomena being taught. Based on these representational practices and purposes, implications for science educators and chemistry teachers are provided.