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Conceptual understanding of epistemological issues in chemistry As discussed in this post, epistemological components make up part of the complex cognitive processes that help students to understand threshold concepts. The epistemological components are to do with how arguments and explanations are built in a discipline. In chemistry, this is mainly to do with the use... Continue Reading →

Read this article if....you are a concept geek who just loves...well...concepts... I recently wrote about threshold concepts in this post. As stated in the article, threshold concepts are often troublesome for learners. However, they have the potential to be so transformative in their understanding of a discipline that they are worth the pain. Indeed, once... Continue Reading →

There are certain concepts in chemistry that students must understand if there are to develop an expertise in the discipline.  We can call these “threshold concepts”. These threshold concepts should be considered as a portal to further understanding and, according to Meyer and Land (2003), should be: Transformative - once understood, it should cause a... Continue Reading →

Some of the terminology that we use in chemistry can be extremely confusing for students! One such example is when we talk about bonding. A bond is the name given when electrostatic forces of attraction between oppositely charged particles are balanced with the kinetic energy that would cause them to move away from each other... Continue Reading →

As Stern, Ferraro and Mohnkern point out in “Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding: Designing Lessons and Assessments for Deep Learning”, the biggest pitfall that teachers face when introducing a new concept is that they are tempted to introduce it as a fact. This means it becomes a definition to be memorised, rather than a concept... Continue Reading →

This time last year, I set myself the goal of being one of the most effective teachers in the school. I wanted to be one of the teachers that people would talk about when people ask them what are great examples of classroom practice. Needless to say, I failed. I am not the most effective... Continue Reading →

Magpies

In  European folklore, the "thieving magpie" is renowned for stealing shiny things (interestingly, this unfortunate perception of the bird has been debunked). This is, obviously, not a good thing for people! I sometimes feel like a magpie in my teaching and learning. I get attracted to shiny classroom ideas, tricks, books, thoughts and much more.... Continue Reading →

The equilibrium law is a tool used by chemists to help them work out how best to manipulate chemical reactions to achieve the greatest yield of the desired product. For a reaction mixture at equilibrium at a certain temperature, the ratio of the concentration of products to reactants will remain constant. We call this ratio... Continue Reading →

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