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Context and content: Upper secondary students’ strategies when solving context-based chemistry problems
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UmSER)
IPN Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, University of Kiel, Germany.
IPN Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, University of Kiel, Germany.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Context-based learning (CBL) approaches are applied in several countries to enhance interest, de-emphasise rote learning, and improve students’ higher order thinking. One way to develop higher order thinking is through the use of meaningful tasks, in this study perceived as context-based chemistry tasks. To explore students’ problem-solving strategies when approaching these tasks, both students’ responses as well as scaffolding from the interviewer using the Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC-C) have been analysed. Through think-aloud interviews with 20 upper secondary students who solved context-based chemistry tasks, results show that students are used to lower order thinking and stating “the correct answer” by memorising factual knowledge. Two different groups of problem-solving strategies will be presented in the presentation, one group of students who only gave responses through recall of factual knowledge, and one group who gave responses not only by stating facts but instead also could explain structure-property relationships on their own. However, both groups of students could develop their responses and improve their problem solving through scaffolding from the interviewer’s use of MHC-C operators (i.e. name, describe, and explain). If students are going to solve problems not only through recall of facts, the process of problem-solving has to be practiced and emphasised in school;; not only the task’s response in itself is important if we want students to learn chemistry in a meaningful way. Teachers can develop their students’ problem-solving strategies by scaffolding using suitable frameworks, such as the MHC-C. Besides making students aware of higher ordering thinking, one way to practice such skills is through reasoning and argumentation;; when students develop their argumentation skills, they also challenge their thinking. For argumentation to be rewarding, it must rely on both facts and higher order cognitive skills as transfer, critical thinking and asking questions. 

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didactics of chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-103696OAI: diva2:854034
the 11th Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), 2015, Helsinki
Available from: 2015-09-15 Created: 2015-05-27 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved

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Broman, Karolina
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