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The effects of formal reasoning ability, spatial ability, and type of instruction on chemistry achievement

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The effects of formal reasoning ability, spatial ability, and type of instruction on chemistry achievement
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1995.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 102-107).
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by Cynthia Trexler Holland.

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THE EFFECTS OF FORMAL REASONING
ABILITY, SPATIAL ABILITY, AND TYPE OF
INSTRUCTION ON CHEMISTRY ACHIEVEMENT









By

CYNTHIA TREXLER HOLLAND


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY




UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1995


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LIBRARIES











ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


This study could not have been conducted without the guidance and
support of many people. First, I would like to express my gratitude to the chair of
my committee, Dr. Mary Budd Rowe. She has provided much support and
motivation. I would especially like to thank my co-chair, Dr. Linda Cronin-Jones,
for her suggestions and support throughout the writing and rewriting of my
dissertation.
Thanks are also extended to Dr. Bob Bernoff for examining the content
material of my dissertation and providing assistance. Thanks also go to Dr.
Paul Becht for his valuable input. I would also like to thank the chemistry
teachers who allowed the study to take place in their classrooms. Their
willingness to experiment and their dedication to improving chemistry
instruction are inspiring.
I especially wish to thank my mother, Donna Trexler, for her constant
encouragement and loving guidance. She started me on the road to learning
years ago by her support and she has been an inspiration to me for years.
Finally, I am indebted to my husband, Colen, for his patience and
encouragement throughout this research. He has provided both emotional and
physical support for this study and I could not have done it without his help and
love. He allowed me to make this research a priority in our lives.













TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................ ................... ii

ABSTRACT ...................................... .... .... .. vi

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION ........... ............ ......... 1

M isconceptions .................................... 2
Visual Spatial Abilities ............................. 3
Formal Reasoning Ability ........................... 4
Purpose of the Study. .................... ......... 5
Procedures ................................ .. 5
Research Questions ............ ......... ......... 5
Research Hypotheses ............................ 6
Definition of Terms. ................... .............. 7
Limitations of the Study. ............................. 7

2 REVIEW OF RESEARCH................. .......... 9

Overview ................... .............. ... 9
Visual Spatial Abilities .................. ...... 9
Visualization Skills ................................ 10
Reasoning Ability ................. ................ 14
Relationship between Formal Reasoning and Spatial
Visualization .............. .... ......... 15
Subject Matter and Visual Spatial Abilities ................. 15
Historical Importance of Visualization in Science ........ 16
Factors that Affect Chemistry Learning ................. 17
Chemistry Instruction. .................. ........ .... 21
Summary ................ ... .................. 24

3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION.......... 25

Overview ..................... .............. 25
Study Sample ................. ........ .. ....... 25
Curriculum ..... ..... ............................ 26
iii











Evaluation Instruments .............................. 27
Visual Spatial Tests ........................... 27
Card Rotation Test .............. ........ .. 27
Form Board ..................... ............. 28
Hidden Figures Test ............. ..... 29
Content Test .. ......... ........................ 30
Formal Reasoning Test ............................. 31
Data Collection .................. .............. 32
Data Analysis .................. .................. 34
Limitations .................. .................. 35

4 RESULTS ........................................ 36

The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement
and Instruction ............ .. .......... ... 37
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement
and Formal Reasoning ........................ 41
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement
and Visualization Skills ................... ..... 45
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement,
Visualization, Formal Reasoning and
Instructional Method. .......................... 50
Summary ........................................ 51

5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS ..... 53

Review of the Study ................................. 53
Summary of the Results ................ .. ...... 54
Implications for Curriculum and Instruction ............. 61
Conclusions ...................................... 65

APPENDIX

A Curriculum Guide .............................. 67
B Content Test ............ .................... 79
C Student Interview ............................. 88
D Correlational Data ............................. 90
E Analysis of Part 1 & 2 Posttest & ATFR code........ 92










F Analysis of Total Posttest & ATFR code ............ 94
G Analysis of Parti Posttest & Visualization scores.... 96
H Analysis of Part2 Posttest & Visualization scores .... 98
I Analysis of Total Posttest & Visualization scores.... 100


REFERENCES .................. .............. 102

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ......... .................. 108










Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
School of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

THE EFFECTS OF FORMAL REASONING ABILITY,
SPATIAL ABILITY, AND TYPE OF INSTRUCTION
ON CHEMISTRY ACHIEVEMENT

By

Cynthia Trexler Holland

December, 1995

Chair: Mary Budd Rowe
Cochair: Linda Cronin-Jones
Major Department: Instruction and Curriculum

The purpose of this investigation was to identify factors that influence
achievement in chemistry by comparing the achievement of high school
chemistry students who receive a visually enhanced treatment of the topic of
balancing equations and conservation of mass with students who receive
traditional instruction (without visuals) on the same topics.
Three different visualization tests were administered prior to instruction in
order to determine the students level of visual ability. Card Rotation test scores
represent the ability to rotate an object in two dimensional space. Hidden
Figures test scores represent the ability to disembed a figure from a more
complex one. Form Board test scores measures how well students can rotate
multiple objects and make a more complex object. The Arlin Test of Formal









Reasoning was administered as a measure of formal reasoning ability. The
tests were administered to 116 chemistry students selected from high schools
in South Central Florida. The students ranged in age from 16 to 18 years of
age.
Analysis of variance, analysis of covariance and general linear model
were the procedures used to analyze the data. The analysis of variance results
support the hypothesis that chemistry achievement is affected by formal
reasoning and the visualization ability as measured by the Hidden Figure test.
Also students at the concrete reasoning level did not perform as high as
students at the formal reasoning level on the content test. It was also found that
chemistry instruction using a greater visual means of instruction increased the
achievement of medium and high visualizers, but not low visualizers. These
effects were not supported in the analysis of covariance. Student
misconceptions relating to atomic/molecular structures were examined and
found to be resistant to change. This study has implications for instructional
methods and curriculum and supports further research into factors which affect
chemistry achievement.












CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Chemistry touches all facets of our lives. M.H. Gardener writes in
Teaching School Chemistry:
Since chemistry touches the lives of every individual,
(through agriculture, industry, nutrition, medicine, the
home environment, etc.) an individual's every moment,
awake or asleep, at work or at play, as a youth or adult
is directly influenced by the understanding and therefore
the utilization he or she can make of chemistry. Scientific
discoveries, technological advances, the efficiency of
the work force, the exercising of citizen's rights and the
quality of life are directly tied to the teaching of chemistry. (p.346)

Despite the acknowledgement of the importance of chemistry, the
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP,1988) report shows that
fewer students are taking high school and college chemistry classes. Only 37%
of the high school students surveyed had completed a year of chemistry. Sixty-
three percent surveyed had taken only half a year of chemistry. In the 1987
High School Transcript Study, 45% of the students surveyed had taken a
chemistry course, whereas 90% had completed a biology course.
Approximately twice as many students take biology as take chemistry, and
about half of those taking chemistry do not complete the year. The NAEP
Report (1988) also shows that achievement in high school chemistry is
mediocre. This trend has changed little in the last 10 years. The report, A
Nation At Risk (NCCE, 1983 ) reinforces the fact that science achievement in the
United States is below standard when compared to other countries, with the
U.S. often ranking last.









As a result of this alarming trend, important research relating to chemistry
learning and instruction is currently being done (Yager, 1989). Teachers must
understand how students learn and make sense of chemistry concepts. They
must examine carefully the gaps that exist between the knowledge presented
and knowledge gained. Attempts to understand the issues underlying
disappointing chemistry enrollments and achievement have resulted in a focus
on the following research questions.
1. How is chemistry being taught today?
2. How can we improve the teaching of chemistry?
3. What teaching approach is best for certain chemistry topics?
4. How are teaching theory and practice related?
5. How do students learn the facts, concepts, etc. that make up
chemistry?
6. What barriers limit students from achieving in chemistry?
7. How can chemistry be made more relevant to students' lives?
8. How do teachers motivate students in chemistry?
9. How are chemistry, technology, and society related?
10. How should we assess students in chemistry?
Although each question is important, this study focuses on the general
questions of three, five, and six. These three questions were selected based on
the research described below. This research examines the impacts of
chemistry students' misconceptions, visual spatial ability, and formal reasoning
ability on chemistry achievement.
Misconceptions
Studies of high school student comprehension of chemical concepts
have shown that students still exhibit misunderstanding and have trouble









explaining abstract concepts even after sustained instruction (Yarroch, 1985;
Gabel, 1993). Research studies focusing on the gas laws, equilibrium,
balancing equations, and the particulate nature of matter have all shown that
these misconceptions are difficult to change (Gabel, 1993; Yarroch, 1985). A
majority of students from elementary through college have alternative
conceptions about atomic and molecular models (Ben-Zvi, Eylong, &
Silverstein, 1986; Novick & Nussbaum, 1981; Osborne & Cosgrove, 1983).
Chemical educators believe that the understanding and use of atomic and
molecular concepts are important in teaching chemistry ( Haidar & Abraham,
1991). Educators also believe that student understanding of the concepts of the
atom and molecule is fundamental to learning other chemistry concepts such as
chemical bonding, chemical reactions, ions, and states of matter ( Ben-Zvi,
Eylong, & Silberstein, 1986; Griffiths & Preston, 1992). Looking into the
reasons behind these alternate conceptions allows us to look at both how
students learn chemistry and how chemistry is taught.
Visual Soatial Abilities
Although technical vocabulary and the use of symbols underpins all of
chemistry teaching and learning, other important aspects include the visual
ability of the learners and use of visual models in instruction. Chemistry
students are often required to visualize abstract concepts such as atoms and
molecules. Students must observe at the macroscopic (phenomena) level and
relate these changes to the microscopic (atomic/molecular) level. Ben-Zvi,
Eylong, and Silberstein (1982, 1986) found that students have difficulty making
this transition.









Instruction in chemistry relies heavily on two and three-dimensional models
describing concepts. The level of spatial ability a student has plays an
important role in the success of his understanding these abstract concepts.
Formal Reasoning Ability

Lawson and Renner (1975) identified two concept categories: concrete
and formal. They found that formal concepts could not be learned by concrete
operational students. These findings were corroborated by Cantu and Herron
(1978) in their study of chemistry students. Marek (1986) and Simpson (1986)
also found that concrete operational students could not understand formal
concepts. Lawson and Thompson (1988) stated that concrete operational
students also have trouble distinguishing between a correct concept and a
misconception if the concept is at a formal level. Research has shown that the
majority of students in chemistry are at the concrete operational level, whereas
understanding of the abstract concepts covered in high school chemistry
classes often requires formal reasoning.
The use of computers and video technology in the classroom has
renewed interest in visual spatial aptitudes, the relationship between visual
spatial aptitudes and formal reasoning, and the use of visual models for
instruction. A large base of research shows that there is a relationship between
reasoning ability and visual spatial aptitudes (Kail & Pellegrino, 1985; Litzkow,
1991). Litzkow (1991) found a curvilinear relationship between formal
reasoning ability and performance on the Card Rotation Test and the Form
Board Test. The Card Rotation Test and Form Board Test are two standard
visual spatial ability tests for spatial orientation and spatial visualization.







5

With these factors in mind, a study of the impacts of prior misconceptions,
visual spatial ability, formal reasoning ability, and instruction in these three
areas on learning chemistry concepts at the high school level seems
appropriate.
Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this investigation was to identify factors that influence
achievement in chemistry by comparing the achievement of high school
chemistry students who receive a visually enhanced treatment of the topic of
balancing equations and conservation of mass with students who receive
traditional instruction (without visuals) on the same topics.
Procedures

The subjects in the study were students currently enrolled in chemistry at
three different high schools. Two classes of chemistry for three different
chemistry teachers made up the sample. Each teacher instructed a control
group and an experimental group. The subjects in the control group followed
the traditional chemistry curriculum on the topic of conservation of mass and
balancing of equations. The subjects in the experimental groups experienced a
highly visual presentation of these topics. This included the use of three-
dimensional visual models and two-dimensional drawings. The primary
difference in the treatments was the mode of presentation. Each treatment
lasted for 3 weeks.
Research Questions
Five research questions were investigated in this study:
1. Will chemistry achievement be greater for a highly visual treatment of
a topic in chemistry compared to achievement following traditional treatment?
2. Will the difference in mean posttest content scores for the two









treatments of the chemistry topic change depending upon the various levels of
student spatial ability?
3. Will the difference in mean posttest content scores for the two
treatments of the chemistry topic vary according to formal reasoning level of
students?
4. Will student visual spatial ability and formal reasoning ability influence
achievement?
5. What changes in conceptions regarding atoms and molecules occur
as a result of a visual spatial instruction?
Research Hypotheses
To answer the research questions the following null hypotheses will be
tested.
1. There is no significant difference in the effectiveness of treatment as
measured by the means on the student content posttest.
2. There is no significant difference in effectiveness of treatment as
measured by various levels of student spatial ability (low/medium/high).
3. There is no significant difference in effectiveness of treatment as
measured by formal reasoning level (low concrete, high concrete, transitional,
low formal, and high formal) of students.
4. There is no significant difference in effectiveness of treatment when
both formal reasoning ability and visual spatial ability interactions are
examined.
5. There is no change in student's comprehension of atoms/molecules
as it relates to conservation of mass and balancing of equations.










Definition of Terms

Terms have many meanings even within a specific discipline. Therefore,
it is necessary to define specifically the meanings of the various terms used in
this study.
Spatial orientation describes the ability to mentally rotate an object in
order to see if two objects are identical. In this procedure, the orientation of the
observer is important to the frame of reference.
Spatial visualization describes the ability to rotate several pieces of a
figure and identify if the pieces make the correct pattern.
Visual spatial ability is the ability to mentally manipulate visual objects
involving a sequence of movements.
Formal operational reasoning is the final stage of Piaget's theory of
cognitive development. This occurs approximately after the age of 11 years and
is characterized by the student's ability to reason and draw conclusions based
on experiences. Students can think abstractly without the use of concrete
objects.
Concrete operational reasoning is the middle stage of Piaget's theory of
cognitive development. This occurs between the ages of 7 and 11 is
characterized by the student's ability to conserve mass in chemical
transformations. Students need concrete objects in order to understand and

apply the concepts.
Limitations of the Study
The following limitations are a part of the investigation.
1. Generalizations cannot be made for any classes other than the
chemistry classes in this study as the study uses a quasi-experimental design
with intact chemistry classes.







8

2. It is assumed that there will be no systematic variation in the
instruction between the three teachers and they will all implement the
curriculum as instructed.












CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RESEARCH
Overview
This chapter summarizes research on the following topics: (a) visual
spatial abilities, (b) formal reasoning ability, (c) the relationship between formal
reasoning and visual spatial abilities, (d) the learning of chemistry, and (e)
chemistry instruction. Each of these topics is important to the understanding of
factors influencing chemistry achievement.
Visual Spatial Abilities
Historically, research on visual spatial abilities has been of interest to
researchers since the early 1900s. Areas such as architecture, art, psychology,
math, engineering and the military were the initial forces behind this research.
Within the last 20 years, the visual spatial abilities needed in science have
been included in this research base .
Thurstone (1938) identified spatial ability as a major and separate factor
of intelligence. Initially this factor was called spatial relations, however, on
further study he separated this factor into two components: spatial relations
and spatial visualization. Spatial relations is defined as being able to identify a
figure when looking at it from a different perspective. Spatial visualization is a
more complex factor and is defined as the ability to rotate multiple parts of a
whole figure. Thurstone developed several spatial tests, "Cards" and "Cubes"
being two of many. The Form Board test was used by Thurstone to measure
spatial visualization.









French (1951) also identified two components of spatial ability: spatial
orientation and spatial visualization. Spatial orientation is defined as "the ability
to remain unconfused by the varying orientations in which a spatial pattern may
be presented" (p.241). Spatial visualization is defined as the ability to
manipulate multiple objects in the mind.
French, Ekstrom, and Price (1963), Guilford and Lacey (1947), and
Thurstone (1938) all developed spatial tests for measuring the three different
components of spatial relations, spatial orientation and spatial visualization.
These tests can be identified in the International Directory of Spatial Tests (Eliot
& Smith, 1983) and in the Ninth Mental Measurement Yearbook (Mitchell,
1985).
The accuracy and speed with which individuals solve spatial problems is
one dependent on the individual's spatial ability. Some students may take a
long time to solve a spatial problem, while others take less time. Students who
work problems fast may give both correct and incorrect answers. Speed does
not correlate positively with accuracy. Timing a visual spatial test may not result
in an accurate measurement of the student's visual spatial ability. Therefore,
research using timed tests is not necessarily the best indicator of how much
visual spatial capability a person has. Because of these individual differences
in processing rates, students need to have enough time to process the spatial
problem.
Visualization Skills
Two important researchers in the area of visualization and science are
Robert McKim and Alan McCormick. McKim (1980) identified several types of
visualization skills, starting with simple observation to more complex image
synthesis. Some of these operations of visual thinking are: pattern seeking,









visual recall, rotations, orthographic imagination, visual reasoning, and visual
synthesis.
Pattern seeking is the ability to find a pattern within an image or dis-
embed an image from distracting surroundings. One example is to look at
several chemicals according to their luster. By arranging them in order of
decreasing shininess, one can see the elements are arranged from left to right
on the periodic table. In biology,a student observing microorganisms under a
microscope must dis-embed a particular part of the organism from the rest of the
organism. In the medical profession, this skill is critical during surgery when
doctors must be able to find particular organs as they are surrounded by tissues
and other organs.
Visual recall is used when students are asked to examine a picture,
graph, or object and later recall it from memory. All the sciences use visual
images to convey the relationship between variables in an experiment. Some
common examples are the H-R diagram in astronomy, the
PressureNolume/Temperature graphs in chemistry, and the Krebs cycle and
cell structure in biology. Each of these charts or diagrams present information
clearly and concisely, whereas the verbal description sometimes takes several
pages to do the same. As a result, teachers use these diagrams in science and
ask students to recall the information from them.
Rotations involve changing the orientation of an image along any plane
or axis. In organic chemistry, the skill of rotation is required for the identification
of stereoisomers. Biochemists use this skill when examining viruses in order to
determine the active spot on the virus coating.
Looking at an object from another perspective falls under the category of
orthographic imagination. This skill is critical for examining how the molecular









structure of a compound relates to its reactivity and the function of specific
molecular groups within the compound. Other skills under this category include
taking a two dimensional object and converting it to a three dimensional model
or vice versa.
Visual reasoning is similar to logical reasoning. In inductive visual
reasoning the person is asked to induce how an abstract principle in sequential
images relates to a final image. Looking at sequential pictures of concrete
objects and predicting what the final picture would be is an example of this skill.
An artist uses deductive visual reasoning in taking an abstract idea and making
it into a concrete object representing the idea. An excellent example of this is
the artist Bev Doolittle, whose camouflage art has an underlying nature
conservation theme.
Visual synthesis is the highest step in the hierarchy. It involves the skills
of putting together parts of an object or idea to make a whole new and different
object or idea. For example, the developer of a new invention uses this skill
when pulling together all that is known about the different aspects of the would-
be product. In the development of the television, the inventors used information
about electromagnetic waves, electrical circuitry, and the transmission/receiving
of electromagnetic waves. Without this type synthesis many of our everyday
products would not be present.
McCormick (1988) went a step further and developed a hierarchy of
visual-spatial skills. He divided these skills into four major categories: visual-
spatial perception, visual-spatial memory, logical visual-spatial thinking and
creative visual-spatial thinking. All of the operations that McKim (1980)
identified are subsets of McCormick's hierarchic model.









Visual spatial perception is defined as the ability to form mental images
of observed objects and to observe fine details of objects. This is the simplest of
all the skills and is commonly called observation in science. In chemistry, one
carefully observes reactions and the property changes that occur. In biology,
careful observations led to the main classification schemes used for all plant
and animal life. Taking careful and exact observations is one process skill that
all chemistry teachers emphasize.
Visual spatial memory allows the storage and retrieval of mental images.
It also allows a student to visualize an object when given a description of the
object. In chemistry, models are frequently used to represent the
atomic/molecular level of chemistry. The students see three dimensional
models or two dimensional diagrams and store them in their memory. Later
when the teacher discusses the molecule, students can retrieve these images
and use them to add functional/physical characteristics to that molecule. A
specific example would be when students learn the structure of the alcohols.
After learning the three dimensional structure of the alcohol, they then learn
about how the structure of the molecule may affect the property of solubility.
Logical visual spatial thinking consists of such skills as pattern finding,
interpreting two dimensional representations of two dimensional objects, mental
rotations of objects, and looking from a different perspective. The majority of
visual operations McKim (1980) identified are clustered in this category.
Chemistry texts are full of diagrams that depict the atoms and molecules and
their interactions. These are two dimensional images and from this, students
must equate those pictures with dynamic particles that cannot be seen, just
inferred. The three dimensional molecules that students make are critical to the
understanding of the structure/function relationships for these molecules.









The final level of the hierarchy is creative visual spatial thinking where all
of the above segments are utilized together to synthesize something new. In
chemistry, an application of this phenomenon occurs when scientists construct
new models and/or new compounds based on data they have collected.
Biological research on virus structures and reactions also relies heavily on the
synthesizing ability of the researchers. Currently, the use of the microcomputer
and three dimensional imaging programs has allowed research to progress at a
much faster rate. Researchers can see the molecule depicted on the screen,
rotate it, and look for areas where an antibody can be inserted to turn off the
replication of that virus.
Reasoning Ability

There is a large data base of research on reasoning as a part of general
intelligence (Piaget, 1960; Thurstone, 1938). Thurstone (1938) identified
reasoning as an important factor and included it in his tests. These tests
consisted of problems that would identify some sector of reasoning: for
example, geometric puzzles, analogies, and series tests. Through this
research, two major components of reasoning were identified: a deductive
factor and an inductive factor. Deductive reasoning progresses from the
general concepts to the specific, and inductive reasoning progresses from the
specific concepts to the general.
Piaget, in his study of the developmental growth of children, used
reasoning tasks to formally evaluate children. Other researchers have
expanded his work (Arlin, 1982; Lawson, 1978; Raven, 1973) with paper and
pencil tests. With these tests, the researcher can classify a student's
performance into different levels of reasoning ability.







15

For example, the classifications of reasoning ability resulting from the Arlin Test
are low concrete, high concrete, transitional, low formal, and high formal.
Relationship Between Formal Reasoning and Spatial Visualization
A study by Hakstain and Cattell (1974) of the interaction between spatial
orientation, spatial visualization and reasoning ability found a greater
correlation between spatial visualization and reasoning abilities. Spatial
visualization tasks are more complex than spatial orientation tasks. Tasks
requiring higher levels of reasoning correlated more strongly with the spatial
visualization than spatial orientation tasks. Kail and Pellegrino (1985) also
found that reasoning and spatial ability both are similar in that they consist of
complex levels.
Subject Matter and Visual Spatial Abilities
Visualization skills are not only important skills needed in doing scientific
research, they are also important skills needed for learning of content in subject
areas such as architecture, engineering, math, and physics. High correlations
between visual spatial abilities and aptitudes in math were found by Fennema
and Sherman (1977), Sherman (1980) and Stallings (1979). More recent
studies in math have examined the relationship between specific visualization
skills, math achievement, and instruction on the visualization skill. Wheatley
and Yackel (1990) found that visual spatial abilities are linked to the
understanding of geometrical concepts in second grade students. Ben-Chaim,
Lappan, and Houang (1988) found that for middle school students who had an
instructional visual spatial intervention, spatial visualization skills improved and
were retained. The recent report Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for
School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989)
included a standard called spatial sense. The same spatial skills necessary for









mathematics achievement as identified by Del Grande (1990) are identical to
the skills necessary for greater achievement and understanding in science.
In the area of physics, Peltzer (1988) found that physicists in colleges

and universities believe there are four general intellectual factors most
important to physics students. They are (a) ability to reason in terms of visual
images (visualization), (b) mathematics ability, (c) logic, (d) and problem
solving ability. In a study by Palland and Seeber (1984), visual spatial ability
was also found to be correlated to achievement in introductory college physics.
They examined three specific visual spatial skills: perception, orientation and
visualization. After weekly instruction in visual spatial methods, the treatment
group consisting of physics students had greater visual spatial skills. This
indicates visual spatial skills can be improved with an appropriate instructional
intervention.
Historical Imoortance of Visualization in Science
A specific skill used in all sciences is the ability to visualize models and

microorganelles. The ability to visualize is related to how well a person can see
or perceive distinct features of an observable object. For example, when a
student examines a microorganism under the microscope, he/she must be able
to pick out the identifying characteristics of that organism. If it is a paramecium,
he/she looks for an elongated slipper shape, central nucleus, and cilia.
Likewise, in chemistry, careful observations of macroscopic properties during a
chemical reaction are critical to success. Such examples would be the
observation of precipitation reactions, where the color and the amount of
precipitate are important to the identity and solubility of the chemical. Another
important example in chemistry is the ability to take a three-dimensional model
of a molecule and visualize how it would look from another viewpoint.









Examining models of molecules from different perspectives leads to a greater
understanding of the structure/function relationship.
Scientists often explain their data by use of models (i.e., the atom,
electron clouds and DNA). In chemistry students are asked to visualize such
models and recall them at a later time. For example, the models of atomic
structure and electron structure are applicable here. We draw pictures of
electron clouds and their interactions. We then use these pictures to explain
how and why bonding between atoms occurs.
Many great inventors and scientists derived their success from their
ability to visualize concepts or solutions to a problem. Roe (1952) interviewed
64 prominent scientists, and the majority said they relied heavily on
visualization to help them in their research. A well-known example was Albert
Einstein. In his book Autobiograohical Notes, (Einstein,1979), he described his
thinking as a process where he sees pictures in his mind and manipulates
these pictures in order to solve a problem. Another famous scientist/inventor
who depended on visualization was the Russian physicist Telsa. His images of
parts and whole machines are legendary. He was able to see how machines
worked and even would allow them to run in his mind. All this was done by
visualizing before the actual models were built. Similarly, Thomas Edison often
used mental images that he combined in order to solve the problems he had
with devices such as the telegraph. In chemistry, Friedrick Kekule claimed that
his discovery of the ring structure of benzene was stimulated by a dream in
which he saw a snake biting its tail.

Factors that Affect Chemistry Learning
Seddon, Enialyeju, and Josoh (1984) studied the visual spatial abilities
of Nigerian students who had completed their 11th year of schooling. Students









who failed a Rotations pretest were given instruction in the skill. The
instructional method was developed to help students visualize three-
dimensional rotation of molecules. It focused on using depth cues, shadows,
and models. Students who received training showed a significant increase in
their ability to visualize the rotation of three-dimensional models of chemicals,
thus indicating visual spatial skills can be taught in chemistry.
In chemistry, understanding of the concepts of molecular structure and
stereochemistry depends on the visual-spatial abilities of students. Holford and
Kempa (1970) found that instruction using stereoscopic presentations improved
the visualizing ability of three dimensional relationships in college structural
chemistry students. They used programmed instructional booklets that required
students to use stereoscopic viewers. Using the stereoscopic viewers
contributed positively to the ability to visualize and interpret structures
represented by a photograph. This, of course, ties into the structure/function
relationship that was mentioned earlier and is so important to chemistry. Hill
(1971) found that remediation and instruction in spatial skills improved student
achievement in specific stereochemical topics at the college level.
George and Fensham (1973) reported successful teaching strategies in
relating three dimensional models, two dimensional drawings, and other written
symbols to primary, secondary and tertiary alcohol structures in a college
organic chemistry course. In this study the students made drawings of the three
dimensional structures, with an emphasis on orientation and perception.
Including these instructional techniques increased student comprehension and
achievement. Clements and Lean (1981) found that in students who
constructed three dimensional models from two dimensional chemical models,
comprehension of structure increased.









Baker and Talley (1974) investigated the relationship between
achievement scores and visual spatial abilities for college inorganic chemistry
students. The exam scores were subgrouped according to Bloom's Taxonomy.
They found a strong positive correlation between achievement and visual
spatial abilities. Specifically, the scores on the higher levels of subgroup
questions (analysis, synthesis and evaluation ) showed a positive correlation to
visual spatial abilities. Pribly and Bodner (1987) examined the relationship
between visual spatial ability and exam scores in college students taking
organic chemistry. Students with higher visual spatial skills did better on
problem-solving and three dimensional rotation exercises on the exams. The
visual spatial skills examined included perception, orientation, and rotation of
molecules.
Carter, LaRussa, and Bodner (1987) also examined the visual spatial
abilities of general college chemistry students. These abilities were analyzed
with regard to exam scores, types of exam questions and gender. The exams
were subscored into 35 different categories according to the type of question.
Categories included recall, problem solving, and dimensional analysis. An
analysis of variance showed that there was a significant correlation between
visual spatial abilities and exam total scores and subscores. Thirty-two of the
35 subscores identified by question type (recall, problem solving, etc.) showed
significant correlation with regard to high/medium/low visual spatial students.
Students who were found to be highly visual had more correct answers on the
question types that required more problem solving than students who were
classified as low visual spatial. No correlation with gender was found.
Despite the wealth of research focusing on college level chemistry and
visual spatial abilities, little research on visualization skills and achievement at









the high school level has been conducted. Also, little research has been done
to examine the effectiveness of instructional strategies that use visualization
skills in the high school chemistry courses. With these factors in mind, a study
focusing on what contributions visualization skills make toward learning of
chemistry concepts at the high school level seemed appropriate.
Chemistry learning is also tied to the formal reasoning abilities of
students. In an analysis of scientific concepts, Lawson and Renner (1975)
identified two major concept categories: concrete and formal. Concrete
concepts are learned from direct experience, and formal concepts require the
students to go beyond their experiences and draw conclusions based on logic
and inferences. Lawson and Renner found that formal concepts could not be
learned by concrete operational students. These findings were corroborated by
Cantu and Herron (1978) in their study of chemistry students. Marek (1986)
and Simpson (1986) also found that concrete operational students could not
understand formal concepts. Lawson and Thompson (1988) stated that
concrete operational students also have trouble distinguishing between a
correct concept and a misconception if the concept is at a formal level. Bitner-
Corven (1989) found that for grades 6 through 10 there was little evidence of
formal operational reasoning. Haidar and Abraham (1991) found that in a study
of the particulate nature of matter, the majority of the 11th grade students were
classified as low formal operational. Their research found a significant
correlation between students' reasoning ability and scores on concept
comprehension tests. Gabel, Samuel, and Hunn (1987) found that 22.8% of
the variance in their study was accounted for by students' reasoning ability.
Research has shown that the majority of students in chemistry are at the









concrete operational level, whereas understanding of the many abstract
concepts presented in chemistry requires a formal reasoning level.
Chemistry Instruction
Current research in chemistry instruction has identified the following
general characteristics of traditional chemistry instruction (Herron, 1990): (a)
Traditional chemistry instruction stresses facts and not concepts; (b) the
instruction does not tie together major concepts within the subject area or
between subject areas; (c) the laboratory activities are mainly verification
laboratories with few or no discovery laboratory activities; (d) process skills
and other skills that would benefit the understanding of students are not taught;
(e) teachers emphasize breadth and not depth, often trying to cover an entire
chemistry textbook in 1 year. These practices often lead to decreased
enrollments and dislike of chemistry at the high school and college levels and
are not instructional practices promoted as good chemistry instruction. Good
chemistry instruction would include practices that are opposite from the ones
stated above.
In good chemistry instruction, three levels of thinking should be
addressed: the phenomenological, the symbolic, and the atomic/molecular.
The phenomenological level looks at the physical and chemical properties of
elements and molecules at the macroscopic level. For example, when we place
a piece of copper in a silver nitrate solution, the following macroscopic changes
are observed: the copper wire becomes covered with a silver material. After a
period of time, the copper appears to have disappeared, and there are
numerous silver crystals where the copper was. The solution, which was
initially clear and colorless, is now beginning to turn slightly blue, and so on.







22

Observation skills are very important for understanding at this level. All students
should be able to perceive the same reaction.
At the symbolic level, instruction involves using symbols to represent the

observations taken earlier. Suppose a chemistry instructor writes on the board
the following equation: Cu + AgNO3 -----> Ag + CuNO3. The reaction is

described as a single replacement reaction where the copper atoms and silver

ions exchange places to form two new substances. At the final

atomic/molecular level, a description of the reaction would include the

explanation of the reactivity of silver and copper atoms, the importance of the

ionic species in the reaction, and the conservation of atoms in a reaction. It is at

this level that we use numerous models to explain the observations at the

sensory level.

The relative emphasis placed on a particular level of thinking depends

upon the individual chemistry instructors and how they were taught chemistry.

Chemistry teachers often teach a given concept exclusively at one level. The

other levels of instruction are often omitted, or if they are included, the

relationship between the concrete and abstract ideasis not explained. For

example, traditionally, in the topic of balancing equations the emphasis is on

the symbolic level. Little or no attempt is made to merge the three levels of

instruction for students (Johnstone,1993). As a result, students fail to see and

understand that the reaction is a collection of particles and this collection is

what gives us the characteristic properties we use to describe what is going on--










our observations are at the phenomenological level. When asked to draw

diagrams of the atoms and/or molecules and how they interact from a balanced

chemical equation most students are unable to do so (Yarroch, 1985). Gabel

and Schrader (1987) also found that students come out of chemistry classes

able to balance equations without understanding the reactions at the molecular

level. Hesse and Anderson (1992) found that in their study of student learning

of chemical change, only 1 student out of 11 was able to explain the

phenomenological level observed by utilizing the atomic-molecular

explanation.

As we move from the phenomenological to the atomic/molecular level of

chemistry, our thinking moves from the concrete to the abstract. The cognitive

developmental level of students in high school chemistry may range from a

concrete operational to a formal operational level of reasoning (Herron, 1990).

Comprehension of chemistry concepts may require a higher level of thinking;

thus, the student needs to be able to reason at a formal level.

In examining the three levels of chemistry instruction, the ability to

visualize is required more as one moves from the concrete phenomenologicall)

to the abstract (atomic/molecular) level. The phenomenological level requires

students to have a visual memory of what occurs during the reaction. For

example, in adding a metal to an acid, students must remember that fizzing

occurred, the test tube got hot, and the metal disappeared or changed color.

The abstract level often requires students to be able to visualize the models that








24

are used as explanations. They are asked to take apart whole molecules and

put them back together in a different arrangement and be able to conserve the

parts at the same time. Because chemistry relies so heavily on visual spatial

skills, visual spatial abilities should be important for success in chemistry.

Summary

Chemistry education researchers have sought to understand the

processes and abilities that affect chemistry achievement. Through a series of

aptitude tests researchers have identified student development in a variety of

areas. One such area is spatial ability. Atomic/molecular concepts are highly

abstract and require students to visualize microscopic particles not normally

seen. The student's ability to visualize these models used for explanations play

an important role in student achievement.

Another area of importance to researchers is the reasoning level of

chemistry students. If students are able to comprehend the formal scientific

concepts as defined by Lawson and Renner (1975), they must be at the formal

reasoning level. Hairdar and Abraham (1991) found a significant relationship

between students' reasoning ability and concept comprehension scores.

Chemistry instruction often focuses on using algorithms to learn chemical

concepts. There is a need to make relevant links between the phenomena we

see in laboratories, the symbolic means chemists use to explain these

phenomena and the atomic/molecular explanations of the chemistry concept.

All of the above variables are important factors in chemistry comprehension.













CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
Overview

This study was designed to examine the visual spatial and formal

reasoning performance of students and how these two factors affect the
comprehension of the abstract concept of atoms and molecules. The context
for the investigation is the study of the chemical topics of conservation of mass
and balancing equations. It was hypothesized that the use of visual modeling
by students would increase their conceptual understanding of these topics. It
was further hypothesized that there would be a relationship between student
performance on visual spatial tasks and their achievement in chemistry.
In Chapter 3 the study sample, the curriculum, the spatial evaluation
instruments used to measure the different visual spatial tasks, the formal
reasoning test and the instrument used to measure chemistry achievement are
described. The data collection and statistical data analysis procedures used
are also described.
Study Sample
The hypotheses were tested with students from high schools located in

the Desoto County School System and the Hardee County School Systems in
Florida. All participants were in the 11th or 12th grade and were taking
chemistry. Students could not be randomly selected for the investigation, and
intact chemistry classes were used. Traditionally, the prerequisites for taking
chemistry are previous course work in biology and algebra. These







26

requirements eliminate students with special learning disabilities from the study.
The socioeconomic make-up of the school systems involved include students
from low to high socioeconomic levels, with the majority of the students coming
from low- to middle-class families.
Three teachers were chosen to participate in this study on the basis of
their teaching experience and willingness to participate. Teacher A had 22
years of teaching experience; Teacher B had 16 years teaching experience;
and Teacher C had 16 years teaching experience. Beginning teachers were
not selected because of their lack of teaching experience and their lack of
familiarity with different teaching methods. The teachers in this study were two
males and one female.
Curriculum

The existing or the modified version of curriculum covered the important
and traditional topics of conservation of mass and balancing chemical
equations. It consisted of a 15-day curriculum covering the topics of
conservation of mass, types of chemical equations, balancing chemical
equations and laboratory applications for each of the topics. Each of the
teachers was instructed on the modified curriculum for a period of 2 hours by
the researcher. The curriculum was laid out with the content, worksheets, and
time line to be spent on each segment of the topic. Appendix A contains the
curriculum guide with the outline of the content topics and timeline. Both the
control and experimental groups covered the same chemistry content. The
difference between the two treatments lies in the use of visual models to
promote the comprehension of the abstract concept of atoms and molecules.
Validation of the content was done by sending the curriculum to a chemistry
professor long interested in curriculum and instructional issues, and asking for









evaluation. Dr. Robert Bernoff, University of Pennsylvania, checked the
curriculum guide for content correctness and instructional techniques. Two
local high school chemistry instructors also examined the curriculum for
continuity and correctness by comparing it to textbook presentations of the
material.

Evaluation Instruments

Students were evaluated to determine their visual spatial ability, formal

reasoning ability, and prior chemistry knowledge. Three independent
measures representing different aspects of visual spatial ability were
administered using three different paper and pencil tests. A paper and pencil

test was used to determine formal reasoning ability and chemistry knowledge.
A description of each of these tests follows.

Visual Spatial Tests

Card Rotation Test
The Card Rotation Test is a commonly used test for visual spatial ability.
It was designed by Thurstone (1938) while he was investigating primary mental

abilities. It was included in the Kit of Factor-Referenced Cognitive Tests
(Ekstrom, French, Harman, & Derman, 1976). The Kit was initially developed by
French (1954) then revised by French, Ekstrom, and Price (1963). The spatial
orientation and spatial visualization factors from this Kit were areas of interest in
this investigation.

The purpose of the Card Rotation test is to measure a student's ability to
recognize difference, when the figure's orientation is changed. The test
measures a student's ability to mentally rotate an image in order to check for
similarities.

The test contains 14 problems. Each problem has a shape followed by









eight drawings of that same shape. The drawings have been rotated from the
original orientation, flipped over or flipped and rotated from the original
orientation. For each of the eight drawings the student must decide if the
original drawing and it are same orientation or flipped orientation. Students
mark a + if they are the same and a if they are flipped. A sample drawing is
shown in Figure 3-1.
Although the original test was supposed to be a timed test, this
investigation focused on overall visual spatial ability rather than speed of
visualization. Therefore, the test was not timed and students were allowed to
work at their own pace. This test was selected due to the similar skills needed
in science for rotating molecules in space in the study of stereoisomers.





El E El El EB E B M


Figure 3-1. Sample Card Rotation Problem
Form Board
The first Form Board Test was developed in 1930 by Paterson, Elliott,
Anderson,Toops, and Heidbreder in a study on mechanical ability. The test was
revised and included in the Kit of Reference Tests for Cognitive Factors. It has
undergone several revisions and is commonly used to test spatial visualization.
The test used in this study was taken from the Kit of Reference Tests for
Cognitive Factors. The purpose of the test is to measure a student's ability to
identify the individual pieces that fit together to make up a whole figure.









Students must mentally execute several operations in trying to match pieces
against the whole. The pieces must be grouped in various combinations and
some of the pieces must be rotated and then combined.
The test consists of a whole figure with several pieces that may fit
together to make the figure shown below. The student must choose from two to
five of these individual pieces to complete the figure. An example is in Figure 3-
2. The test contains 24 items. This test was selected because it measures the
more complex ability to manipulate two-dimensional figures composed of
individual pieces. Again the test was not timed as the investigation was not
looking for speed but overall ability. This test was selected due to the similar
process used in the synthesis of molecules from atoms in chemical reactions.







0 0 0 0

Figure 3-2. Sample Form Board Problem
Hidden Figures Test
The Hidden Figures Test was taken from the Longitudinal School
Mathematics Study. It was adapted from the Hidden Figures Test, a part of the
Kit of Reference Tests for Cognitive Factors. The task is one of disembedding a
simple figure from a complex pattern that has been organized to obscure or
embed the simple figure. The test is a variation of the Group Embedded Figure
Test, which measures field dependence and independence, a component of
spatial ability.









The test consists of 16 complex patterns. Beside each pattern five simple

shapes are drawn. The student must identify which of the five simple shapes
are a part of the complex pattern. Figure 3-3 below shows a sample from this
test.





/ / A B C D E -



Figure 3-3. Sample Hidden Figure Problem
This test was chosen because of its similarity to the skill scientists must
use when looking for components in a large molecule that are the basis for
chemical interactions. This relates to the structure/function issue in chemistry.

Content Test
The content test was developed according to educational evaluation
guidelines. Initially, the times need to cover each content topic were tallied.
The percentage of time spent per topic was derived from this information. For
example, a total of 120 minutes of 700 total instructional minutes was spent on
visualization or modeling of the concepts. Thus, 17% of instructional time was

spent on visualization. For a 50- question test, 17%, or nine questions,
consisted of visualization items. This method was used for all topics covered in
the curriculum. The corresponding numbers of tests items were then written for
each topic. A 50 item test was chosen due to the limitation of available class
time. Presently, most class periods run between 50 and 55 minutes.
The content test was further validated by sending it to an expert in the
field for review Dr. Robert Bernoff, Chemistry Education Professor, University









of Pennsylvania, worked with the investigator on wording and degree of
difficulty. Another step in validation was done by checking to see that each test
question corresponded to the appropriate topic. One science professor and
three chemistry teachers coded the questions as to topics; ( e.g., conservation
of mass, energy relationships, types of reactions, balancing equations). There
was 98% agreement between the professor and the investigator and 99%
agreement between the teachers and the investigator. Changes were made on
the questions that were not in total agreement.
The test was then given to 60 students in a local high school chemistry
class. Two weeks later the test was given again. Test-retest reliabilities were
determined for the tests. No significant differences were found between the
scores on the pretest and scores on the posttest. Appendix B contains a copy
of the content test.
Formal Reasoning Test
Numerous research studies have shown that reasoning is an integral part
of intellectual performance (Piaget, 1960; Thurstone, 1938). Piaget and
Inhelder(1958) developed individual tests that assessed formal reasoning.
Several paper and pencil tests have been created to measure reasoning (Arlin,
1982; Lawson, 1978; Raven, 1973) based on these tests by Piaget and
Inhelder. These paper and pencil tests were developed so that large numbers
of students could be assessed in a minimum amount of time. Arlin (1982)
developed a paper and pencil test based on the developmental theory of Piaget
and Inhelder. According to Piaget (1958), students pass through four distinct
stages in their development from childhood to adult. These four stages of
intellectual development are the sensorimotor stage, from birth to age 2; pre-
operational stage, from age 2 to age 7; concrete operational, from age 7 to age









11; and formal operational, from age 11 on through adulthood. These time
frames are to be used only as a guide and are not absolute. Examining high
school students shows that all stages of development may be present in a given
sample.
The Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning is a 32-item test. The questions are
in a multiple-choice format. Test items use math and science concepts as a
base for the questions. The test is untimed, taking approximately 30-45
minutes. The test assesses the students according to one of five different
cognitive levels: low concrete, high concrete, transitional, low formal and high
formal. Studies (Arter & Salmon, 1987; Fakouri, 1985; Santmire, 1985) have
shown the instrument to be valid and reliable for assessing the reasoning ability
of groups.
Data Collection
Data were collected in the following manner. On day 1, the Pretest for
Chemistry content and the Card Rotation test were given by all three teachers.
On day 2, the Hidden Figures test and the Form Board test were administered.
The Formal Reasoning Test was given on day 3. All tests were given in this
same order to limit any internal validity threat. The Chemistry content test was
given first. Otherwise, practice with visual models in the visualization tests
might have confounded the content results.
Each teacher read the test instructions to the students. The teachers
went through a sample problem with the students and answered any questions
prior to administering the tests. None of the tests were timed.
Day 4 began the two-week instructional package. The teachers followed
the curriculum guide daily. Each teacher kept notes and comments during the
instructional period. Journal entries covered time schedules, problems









encountered, and any other ideas they might have about the curriculum or
instruction. During the instructional period, two days were videotaped for each
group. The focus of the videotapes was.on how students interacted with the
manipulatives and on verification that the instructors were following the lesson
plans correctly.
The difference between the experimental and control curriculum package
was in the use of hands-on three-dimensional manipulatives and two-
dimensional models to represent atoms and molecules. Traditionally, chemistry
instruction does not include these manipulatives in the study of conservation of
mass and balancing equations. The experimental group worked with the
hands-on manipulatives and two-dimensional models, while the control groups
received traditional instruction. After the entire curriculum had been
implemented, all students took a post-content test.
Approximately 2 weeks after the unit, I interviewed two students from
each class, for a total of 12 students, with a semi-structured interview protocol.
The purpose of the interview was to identify any misconceptions and/or non-
learning that had taken place. One student at a time was interviewed in a room
adjacent to the classroom. Students were given a set of magnets and their use
was explained. Then the students were given a set of chemical equations to
balance. Instructions were given to the students and they were asked to talk
aloud while they were working the problem. I recorded all student comments
and how they used the magnets. After they completed each question, I asked
them to explain the reasoning behind any errors I noted when they were solving
the problem. Further student comments were recorded from this information.
Appendix C contains the student interview sheet and protocol.
A pilot version of this study was conducted on 60 students in Alachua









County in the spring of 1993. The students completed all three visualization
tests and were given the content test. They were also instructed using the
curriculum guide. This was done to validate the curriculum package and to
examine the difficulty level of the visualization tests. The pilot study showed that
the students in the experimental group had a greater understanding of how
atoms and molecules interact and, after using the manipulatives for a period of
time, became very proficient in discussing chemical reactions in terms of atoms
and molecules. The pilot study provided justification for further investigation
using a larger sample.
Data Analysis
The SAS general linear model was the statistical procedure used in this
investigation. Use of this model allows the examination of several independent
variables to determine if differences in posttest content scores are due to prior
visualization skills, reasoning ability, or treatment effect.
The three visualization scores (Card Rotation, Form Boards and Hidden
Figures) were treated as interval scores as were the content tests. The formal
reasoning test was considered a continuous score. This procedure allowed the
following questions to be answered:
1. Is the difference in content performance related to instructional
method?
2. Is the difference in content performance related to visualization ability?
3. Is the difference in content performance related to reasoning ability?
4 Is the difference in content performance related to the combined effect
of visualization, instructional method or reasoning ability?









Limitations
This section contains a description of the external threats to validity.
Certain threats could not be avoided, but every effort was taken to minimize
these effects.
To make sure that there was minimal teacher effect in this study, a
concise script of the curriculum was provided and explained by the investigator.
Journal keeping and video taping were also be done to provide further
validation that the curriculum was followed as directed.
A second limitation relates to the nature of the subject area. Students
taking this course normally exhibit a higher ability level in math and problem
solving than the average 11th or 12th grade. Several types of students may
have been scheduled into a particular class due to other scheduling conflicts.
For example, band is only offered during one period of the day, and honors
classes are only offered during one period. When choosing which groups to
use as control and experimental, an effort was made to ensure that the overall
groups were not significantly different.












CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The purpose of this study was to examine how achievement in chemistry

is affected by instruction using visual modeling of atoms and molecules. Other
factors examined in the study were the effects of formal reasoning skills and
visualization skills on chemistry achievement. The students took a formal
reasoning test, three different visualization tests, and pre and post content tests.
The content test consisted of two parts, each part relating to the instructional
method used. There were two instructional methods used in teaching chemistry
concepts. The treatment method used a hands-on approach with three
dimensional models to represent the chemical concepts. For example, a model
of water would be t Traditional chemistry instruction uses chemical
symbols (e.g., Na, NaOH) to represent the concepts presented. Water would
be represented by H20, not the model above. Part one of the test had concept

questions using only the symbols. Part 2 had questions requiring visualization
and a visual means for conveying the knowledge.
Mediating variables in the study were the precontent test, a test of formal
reasoning, and three different visualization tests. Results of the analysis of
effects of these variables are presented in the next sections. The correlations
between all of the variables are given in Appendix D. The design of the study
appears in Figure 4-1.










Chemistry Instruction Mediating Variables Code Outcome

Treatment & Control Precontent test Precon Postcontent
test &
Groups Formal reasoning test ATFR Selected
Interviews
Card Rotation test Card (Postcon)
Form Board test Form
Hidden Figure test Hidden

Figure 4-1. Layout of the Study.


The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement and Instruction
The first analysis assessed the relationship between achievement and
instruction in chemistry. The conceptual hypothesis stated that the post test
achievement test for the experimental group would be greater than for the
control group. The instruction with the control group was modeled after the
traditional chemistry instruction. Concepts were developed using only chemical
symbols and words. Laboratory activities were done to verify these concepts.
The experimental group differed in that an emphasis was placed on three-
dimensional modeling depicting the underlying atomic/molecular structure.
Students manipulated models for both the laboratory and conceptual
components of the curriculum. The question of whether treatment affected
achievement was evaluated using a t-test on both control and experimental
group results.

To determine whether treatment and control groups were equivalent on
prior knowledge, a precontent test was administered prior to treatment. The test
had two parts and an analysis was done for total scores as well as each
individual part. Analysis of a t-test (alpha = 0.05) of precontent scores indicated
there was no significant difference between the control and









experimental groups on the total pretest scores as well as for each part of the
test. Both groups showed equivalent prior knowledge on this topic. Also
important to note is that neither group was able to explain the abstract concept
of atoms and molecules, a topic that is introduced and used for explanations
throughout chemistry. It is also interesting to note that the concept of atoms and
molecules is introduced and explained in most chemistry textbooks in Chapter
2, whereas Conservation of Mass and Balancing Equations comes much later
in the curriculum. The students had been exposed to this concept previously.
A comparison of the two groups using a Tukey-Kramer HSD analysis
(alpha = 0.05) showed there was a significant difference in performance
between the control and experimental groups on part 2 (visual representations)
and total score on the post content test. There was no significant difference in
the part 1 (traditional content and algorithms) posttest scores between the
experimental and control groups. Tables 4-2 and 4-3 show the means and
numbers per group for scores on part 1, part 2 and total of both the pretest and
posttest.


Table 4-2
Means of the Total Pretest Scores (Max. pts. = 50). Part 1 Pretest Scores (Max.
ots. = 35) and Part 2 Pretest Scores (Max. pts. = 15) by Treatment

Pretest Scores Total n StdErr Part 1 n StdErr Part 2 n StdErr


Exp. Group 5.51 64 .47 5.14 64 .41 0.38 64 .12
Control Group 6.13 63 .48 5.75 63 .42 0.38 63 .12
Significance prob>t| = .3651 prob>|t| = .3051 prob>|t = .9718









Table 4-3
Means of the Posttest Achievement Scores. Part 1 Scores and Part 2 Scores by
Treatment

Posttest Scores Total n StdErr Part 1 n StdErr Part 2 n StdErr
Exp. Group 26.83 61 1.37 21.89 61 .98 4.95 61 .53
Control Group 22.61 54 1.46 19.91 54 1.04 2.70 54 .56

Significance prob>tj = .0373 prob>|t| = .1683 prob>jt| = .0044


The results of these tests indicate that instruction using a visual technique
increased chemistry achievement on the topics of atoms, molecules, and
balancing equations. The scores on part 2 of the content posttest indicated that
the students in the visual instruction group had a greater understanding of the
abstract concepts of atoms and molecules and their role in the chemical
concept of conservation of mass.
Increased chemistry comprehension was further shown qualitatively in
interviews with randomly selected students after the unit was completed. Two
students from each classroom were randomly chosen to participate in a
structured interview. They were interviewed individually. The interview protocol
appears in Appendix C. The students were asked to balance a chemical word
equation using the magnets. They were then asked to balance an equation
already written in chemical symbols. Finally, they were asked to demonstrate
the concept of conservation of mass on two already balanced chemical
equations again using the magnets. The students were asked to explain what
they were doing as they balanced the equations and to describe the particles
involved in the chemical equations.
Students from both the control and experimental classes could









successfully balance the equations when they were already given in symbolic
chemical form. All but one student could do this, indicating that they had
learned the algorithm for balancing equations. That is, they balanced the
equation using the symbols and count for equal numbers on both side.
However, when asked to write a balanced equation from word form, the
students could not always do it. They were confused about how to write
particular elements and compounds. For example, iron(lll) oxide was written as
Fe302 or FeO, but not Fe203, the correct formula. If students do not

understand how charges are used to give the combining ratios that make up the
compound, such errors would be made in answering the questions. This error
is significant in that it shows students do not understand how atoms combine to
form compounds. Also when asked to use the magnets to represent the
particles in the balanced equation, all the students from the control class had
the most difficulty. These students commented to me that they "really did not
understand atoms or molecules" or" I can balance equations but I don't know
what the difference is between an atom or molecule. Three of the students
incorrectly named the particles. Atoms in the balanced equations were called
molecules and molecules were called atoms in many of their explanations.
Only one of the students had no difficulty balancing an equation and explaining
the difference between atoms and molecules with relation to what he did. He
used the magnets in his explanation and in checking to see that the equations
were balanced. He was from the experimental group.
These results indicate that the topic of balancing chemical equations is
complex and student comprehension may require more than one time learning
the topic. The ACS textbook CHEMCOM addresses this issue. One of ACS's









underlying hypothesis is that it takes multiple examples for student
comprehension. Therefore, their textbook may introduce a topic in one chapter
and several chapters after that will have applications using this concept to
reinforce student learning. Evaluation of this process and textbook is ongoing.
Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement and Formal Reasoning
In order to examine the relationship between chemistry achievement and
formal reasoning, two analyses were done, using the total group of subjects to
determine whether formal reasoning (ATFR score) affected chemistry
achievement. First, the scores of each student were transformed into an ordinal
scale indicating their level of performance: concrete, high concrete, transitional,
low formal and high formal. Tables 44A and 4-4B show the number of students
in each group, the scoring scales, and codes for this information.


Table 4-4A
Level of Formal Reasoning. ATFR Scores and Resulting Codes
Level of Performance ATFR Score Code
Concrete 0-7 1
High Concrete 7-14 2
Transitional 15-17 3
Low Formal 18-24 4
High Formal 24-32 5


The breakdown of the number of students in each of the five different
levels (concrete to formal) is given in the Table 4-4B. Both the experimental
and control groups had a similar distribution of students in the high concrete
and transitional level. However at the extremes of the formal reasoning scale,
the experimental group had a greater number of low concrete, low formal and









high formal level students. Even though each group was randomly assigned.
students were not evenly distributed in each formal reasoning level.


Table 4-4B
Total number of students in each reasoning level and per experimental and
control arouP
Low High Transitional Low High
Concrete Concrete Formal Formal

Total number
of Students 5 43 23 15 7

Experimental
Group 4 21 12 10 7

Control Group 1 22 11 5 0


In the second analysis, the scores were treated as interval data and a
general linear model was run. The null hypothesis follows:
Ho: There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from

students' formal reasoning skills.
The level of significance for rejecting the null hypothesis was alpha =
0.05. The Tukey-Kramer HSD test was used to compare the means on posttest
scores according to the ranking on the AFTR test. The test results appear in
Appendix E. Table 4-5 shows the mean results of post test scores according to
their placement in the AFTR group.
Results show that there was a significant difference in Part 1 of the
posttest content scores for the following groups: post test scores for Group 4
and 2 only. Part 2 of the content test shows a significant difference between the









following groups: Group 4 and 3, Group 4 and 2. The greatest significant
difference existed between Group 4 and 2. The analysis for the total posttest
score indicates a significant difference on achievement between Group 4 and
2 only. Appendix F contains this analysis and graph. This information is
consistent with the findings of Haidar and Abraham (1991) and Gabel, Samuel,
and Hunn (1987). Their studies found that students at a higher formal
reasoning level performed better than students at a concrete level.


Table 4-5

Table of Posttest Scores for Formal Reasoning Groups of Total Group
Means of Posttest Score Part 1 Part 2 Total n
High Formal (Group 5) 20.43 5.71 26.14 7
Low Formal (Group 4) 26.00 9.57 35.57 14
Transitional (Group 3) 24.26 4.95 29.21 19
High Concrete (Group 2) 19.38 2.25 21.62 40
Low Concrete (Group 1) 18.40 4.00 22.40 5


An ANOVA on the total posttest score (both content and visualization)
and formal reasoning scores indicated that there was a significant relationship
between chemistry achievement and ATFR. Chemistry content requires
students to comprehend concepts that are often abstract. Therefore, it seems
reasonable that students who have a higher level of formal reasoning, dealing
with abstract ideas, would have higher achievement in chemistry. This is
consistent with research by Marek (1986) and Simpson (1986). The results are
shown in Table 4-6.

An analysis was run examining these two effects on each part of the
posttest, part 1 and part 2. Part 1 of the test measures traditional content, and










part 2 uses a more visual means for students to explain the ideas. The results
are shown in Tables 4-6A and 4-6B.

The R2 of 0.23 indicates that approximately 23% of the variance in part 1

posttest scores is due to the AFTR scores and precontent scores.
Approximately 29% of the variance in part 2 posttest scores is due to the AFTR
(formal reasoning) scores and precontent scores. Both parts of the posttest are
significantly related to the formal reasoning test. The analysis of interactions
between formal reasoning and the type of instruction did not show any
significant relationships.


Table 4-6

Analysis of variance between Total posttest score. ATFR scores and pretest
scores.

Rsquare 0.28
Root Mean Square Error 9.14
Observations 111

Source DF Sum of Squares F Ratio Prob>F

Atfr 1 3019.16 36.15 0.0000
Precont 1 450.34 5.39 0.0221


Table 4-6A

Analysis of variance between Part 1 posttest score and ATFR scores
Rsquare 0.23
Root Mean Square Error 6.63
Observations 111

Source DF Sum of Squares F Ratio Prob>F

Aftr 1 1022.21 23.24 0.0000
Precont 1 333.73 7.59 0.0069









Table 4-6B
The relationship between Part 2 oosttest score and ATFR scores
Rsquare 0.29
Root Mean Square Error 3.67
Observations 111

Source DF Sum of Squares F Ratio Prob>F

Atfr 1 527.83 38.51 0.0000
Precont 1 8.71 0.63 0.4269


Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement and Visualization Skills
In the study, an attempt was made to examine whether particular
visualization skills were important in chemistry achievement and specifically if
treatment favored one of these. A review of each of these tests and how they
relate to chemistry follows. One skill as measured by the Card Rotation test is
the ability to rotate objects mentally. In chemistry this skill is necessary when
discussing such topics as molecules, their three dimensional structure, and
bonding orientation. Students need to visualize the three dimensional
geometry in order to understand how reactions may occur.
A second skill, Hidden Figure identification, was also assessed. In this
test students are required to find a shape embedded in a figure. In chemistry,
this is useful in the area of medical research, where imaging of molecules and
parts of molecules is necessary for developing antibodies. In high school
chemistry, it is important in identifying the various polyatomic ions that make up
a particular compound. Identification of these ions allows a student to better
understand solubilities.
The third skill measured by the Form Board test, requires students to take
parts of a shape and put them together to make a whole object. Here









orientation, size, and shape are important. Students must be able to not only
rotate objects mentally, but also put them together into to form a particular
shape. Again, a chemistry student would use this skill in putting the various
monoatomic and polyatomic ions together to form the chemical compounds.
The geometry or structure of the compound better explains how they react.
Because chemistry uses many different models and diagrams, one would
assume that students who have a greater ability to visualize would have greater
chemistry achievement. If they do not have better achievement then there is no
factor.
The statistics in this section are used to examine the following hypothesis:
Ho: There is no significant relationship between students' scores on the

three visualization tests and chemistry achievement.
The following tables, Table 4-7 through 4-9, show the statistics for
determining a relationship between chemistry achievement and each individual
test. The final table, Table 4-8, indicates the full model statistical analysis. The

value of R2 was higher for the Form Figures test than for Card Rotation and

Hidden Figures tests. This indicates a greater variance in the posttests was due
to this variable.
Table 4-7
General Linear Model for the Form Board Test and Total Posttest Score

Rsquare= 0.16

Source DF SS Mean Square F Ratio
Model 1 2121.86 2121.86 20.69
Error 110 11279.13 102.54 Prob>F
Total Error 111 13400.99 0.0000









Table 4-8

General Linear Model for the Hidden Figures Test and Total Posttest Score


Square = 0.14
Source DF

Model 1
Error 106
Total Error 107


SS

1882.17
11282.75
13164.92


Mean Square

1882.17
106.44


F Ratio

17.68
Prob>F
0.0001


Table 4-9

General Linear Model for the Card Rotation Test and Total Posttest Score


Rsquare = 0.05
Source DF

Model 1
Error 108
Total Error 109


SS

618.23
12635.62
13253.86


Mean Square

618.23
116.99


F Ratio

5.28
Prob>F
0.0234


The Hidden Figures, Form Board and Card Rotation visualization tests
show that there is a significant relationship between posttest achievement

scores and visual spatial ability as measured by these tests individually.

Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected. Table 4-10 shows the general linear

model for all the variables. Again, the GLM shows that there is a significant

relationship with the Hidden Figures test and Form Board. Card Rotation test is

not significantly related.









Table 4-10
General Linear Model for the Whole Model and Posttest Score
RSquare = 0.26
Source DF SS Mean Square F Ratio Prob>F
Model 3 3401.00 113.67 11.88 0.0000
Error 102 9731.84 95.41
Total Error 105 13132.84
Form 1 1110.97 11.64 0.0009
Hidden 1 1222.32 12.81 0.0005
CardRot 1 89.32 0.936 0.3356


The posttest content test was then divided into its subsections (Parts 1
and 2) and both individual tests and whole model tests for both parts were run.
Test results for part 1 of the posttest (content) were from tables in Appendix G:
Hidden Prob>F = 0.0027, Form Board Test Prob>F = 0.0001; CardRot -
Prob>F = 0.0602. The whole model prob>F = 0.001. Test results for part 2 of
the posttest(visualization) were from tables in Appendix H: Hidden -Prob>F =
0.0000, Form Board Test Prob>F = 0.0000; CardRot Prob>F = 0.0164.
Whole model prob>F = 0.0000. Again, there was a significant relationship
between each individual test and the posttest subsections.
Appendix I shows the data analysis using the general linear model for all
visualization tests and part 1 and part 2 of the posttest. Again for each
individual part both the Hidden Figures and Form Board tests were significantly
related. The Card Rotation test was not.
If visualization and formal reasoning affect chemistry achievement, then
the treatment emphasis on visual representation should give higher post test
scores. Analyses of the interaction of group and each individual









visualization test showed no interaction effect between group and form board
test, hidden figures test, and card rotation test.
A final analysis was done to include precontent scores along with the
three visualization scores as independent variables. The Form Board test,
Hidden Figures Test and Precontent scores all were significantly related to the
posttest content scores. The Card Rotation Test was not significantly related to
the posttest scores in any of these whole model tests.
The visualization scores were converted to percentages and added to
give a new variable called total percent visualization. Analysis was done using
this variable and the posttest scores for each instructional group, traditional and
visual. For the group receiving traditional instruction, 13% of the variance on
their achievement scores could be explained by their visualization scores,
whereas for the experimental group, 26% of the variance on the achievement
scores could be explained by their visualization scores.
The total visualization score was divided into high, medium, and low
scores according to the quartile rankings. Low was classified as the lower 25%
on the total score. Medium was classified as from 25% to 75%. High scores
were above 75% of the total score. Numerically, low scores were classified as
below 192 out of 300. Medium scores were scores between 192 and 252 out of
300. High visualization scores were ones above 252 out of 300. On examining
the achievement scores of the two instructional groups, despite instructional
type, the students with low visualization skills do not perform well on this test.
However, for students classified as medium or high visualizers the method of
instruction increased their achievement on the content test. Instruction seemed
to have the greatest effect on the students who had medium visualization skills.









The Relationshio Between Chemistry Achievement, Visualization,
Formal Reasoning and Instructional Method

A test was conducted to examine the relationship between the posttest
scores of achievement and the independent variables of formal reasoning
score, form board test, hidden figures test, card rotation test, and precontent
score. The results show a significant relationship between the formal reasoning

test, hidden figure and precontent scores and the posttest content scores. The
form board test and the card rotation test did not show a significant relationship.
Thus, the precontent scores, formal reasoning scores, and hidden figures test
scores can be used to predict the posttest achievement scores. Table 4-11
below gives this information.


Table 4-11
Full Model Analysis for all Variables
Rsquare = .41
Source DF SS Mean Square F Ratio Prob>F

Model 5 4983.91 996.78 13.25 0.0000
Error 98 7296.52 75.22
Total Error 103 12280.43
Precontent 1 607.21 8.072 0.0055
Atfr 1 942.97 12.53 0.0006
Form 1 113.27 1.509 0.2227
Hidden 1 1120.31 14.89 0.0002
CardRot 1 51.72 0.688 0.4090


Based on the above data, the card rotation test and form board test were
dropped as factors and the analysis was run again both to check the
significance level and to look for any interactions. There were no significant
treatment interactions with the hidden figures test, precontent test and formal









reasoning score. The R Square for the model without the Card Rotation test
and Form Board test scores was 0. 39 indicating that the two variables dropped
from the analysis were not providing much variance to the full model. In
summary, formal reasoning and one type of visualization skill as measured by
the Hidden Figures test are significantly related to the posttest content test on
the topic of balancing of equations and conservation of mass.
A final ANCOVA was run to analyze the effect of precontent, teacher,
hidden figure score, formal reasoning score, and group on the posttest content
score. Both formal reasoning and precontent scores were significantly related
to achievement. Neither visualization nor type of instruction, as indicated by the
hidden figure score, was found to be significant in this analysis. The chemistry
achievement scores for one teacher was significantly higher than the other two
teachers. These results may indicate that the teachers either did not completely
follow the curriculum guide as they stated or they maintained their teaching
styles despite the desire to change.
Summary

The following null hypotheses stated in this study regarding the
relationship between chemistry achievement and type of instruction, formal
reasoning skills, and visualization skills were rejected:
1. There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from
different instructional methods.
2. There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from their
visualization skills.
3. There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from the
students reasoning ability.







52

4. There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from the
combined effect of visualization, instructional method or reasoning ability.
Discussion of these results and their implications follows in Chapter 5.













CHAPTER 5
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

Chapter 5 is divided into four main sections. The first section reviews the
objectives of the study. The second section summarizes the results from
Chapter 4. The third section discusses the conclusions from these results and
the fourth section examines the implications for future research and how these
implications could affect curriculum and instruction.
Review of the Study
This study examined the effect of instruction using visual modeling of
atoms and molecules on achievement in chemistry. Other factors examined in
the study were the effects of formal reasoning skills and visualization skills on
chemistry achievement. The students took a formal reasoning test, three
different visualization tests, and pre- and post-content tests. The content test
consisted of two parts, each part relating to the instructional method used. The
treatment method used a hands-on approach with three dimensional models to
represent the chemical concepts. For example, a model of water would be C .
Traditional chemistry instruction uses chemical symbols, (e.g., Na, NaOH) to
represent the concepts presented. Water would be represented by H20, not

the model above. Part one of the test had concept questions using only
symbols. Part 2 had questions requiring visualization and a visual means for
conveying the knowledge. Mediating variables in the study were the
precontent test, a test of formal reasoning, and three different visualization tests.
53









The study was conducted in three Florida high schools. One hundred
and eleven students and three instructors, one from each school, participated in
the study. The students were taking chemistry. Each teacher had one control
and one experimental study group, for a total of six chemistry classes. The
students were in grades 11 and 12 in rural high schools with equivalent
socioeconomic backgrounds. In each case, the chemistry classes of each
teacher were randomly assigned to the control and experimental group.
The students took a precontent test to determine whether the classes
were equivalent in chemistry knowledge at the start of the investigation.
Statistical analyses were done to determine if there was a relationship between
the chemistry achievement after instruction and each mediating variable. The
mediating variables were the precontent test score, the three spatial tests, and a
formal reasoning test. The interaction of these variables and chemistry
achievement was also evaluated. It was hypothesized that a strongly visual
treatment of chemistry content would improve chemistry comprehension on a
defined set of topics. The study also investigated related questions, namely, the
extent to which visualization skills as measured by the Hidden Figures Test and
Formal Reasoning affected achievement outcomes.
Summary of the Results
It was hypothesized that instruction using three dimensional models
would enhance the comprehension of atoms, molecules and balancing
equations. Students who received this instruction were expected to have
greater comprehension than students who did not receive the instruction. It
was also hypothesized that students who had better visualization skills would
have a higher achievement on the content. Visualization skills are a critical part
of chemistry, from observation skills to manipulating two dimensional and three









dimensional particles. Because this topic covers material that is abstract and
requires a higher level of formal reasoning, it was hypothesized that students
with a higher formal reasoning skill would have higher achievement on the
content. The final analysis examined the effect of all the variables on chemistry
achievement.
The study sought to answer four questions related to chemistry
achievement at the high school level. The questions are stated below.
1. Is there a difference in content performance related to instructional
method?
2. Is there a difference in content performance related to visualization
ability?
3. Is there a difference in content performance related to reasoning
ability?
4 Is there a difference in content performance related to the combined
effect of visualization, instructional method, or reasoning ability?
The first three questions examine chemistry achievement on the posttest
measure and three independent variables of visualization ability, instructional
method and reasoning ability. The fourth question examined chemistry
achievement in terms of an interaction of any or all the the variables.
From the analyses, the following conclusions were drawn.
1. Given the same conceptual content, students in the experimental
group using the hands-on visual models had a significantly higher post test
score on the content achievement measured than did the control group.
Comprehension of the abstract concepts of atoms and molecules was
enhanced by using this method of instruction.







56

Part 2 of the post content test utilized a visual means to examine student
comprehension of the atomic/molecular level of conservation of mass and
balancing chemical equations. The following examples taken from this part of
the test illustrate some of the differences in the test responses between
treatment and control group. Students were asked to draw pictures
representing the particles in the chemical reaction. The following question is
representative of a question from part 2 of the test.


Sample Question: The balanced equation for the decomposition of water is:
2H20 => 2H2 + 02

Show how the reaction would look using the following symbols. Let 0
stand for oxygen and for hydrogen atoms. Draw the atoms/molecules for the
reaction and describe the reaction in terms of atoms and molecules.
Typical answer:

3 g : co

Several items distinguished the students in the treatment group from
those in the control group. First, the majority of treatment students showed
conservation of mass with the particles on their drawings. That is to say, their
drawings indicated equal number of particles on both sides of the chemical
equation. Second, their drawings also correctly indicated which particles in the
reactions were atoms and which were molecules. This mastery is important for
the comprehension of further chemical concepts. Students from the control
group were less likely to exhibit these responses. Quite often they did not even
attempt to answer the questions. Examples of their answers to the question are
below:

Sooo + 0 0
--- 0 0o
UcU 0









Information derived from one teacher's comments indicated that the
students began to visualize the orientation or three dimensional structure of the
substance. While working with the magnets to balance equations, students
asked the teacher questions relating to bonding, bond orientation, and
structural geometry of the molecules. For example, when they placed two
magnets together to represent a molecule, they asked what type of bond held
the two particles together. Students also asked how the atoms should be
arranged when putting several of these magnets together to make a compound.
This second question was asked of all three teachers. The teachers
commented that the practice with magnets enhanced student comprehension of
the above topics when these topics were taught at a later date.
This study confirms the results of Yarroch (1986) and Gabel and

Schrader (1987) in that traditional chemistry instruction does not emphasize the
underlying concepts related to conservation of mass and balancing equations.
Students come out of chemistry classes able to balance equations without
understanding the reactions at the molecular level. Students in both the

control and experimental group could balance equations given the basic
equation. The study indicates that an effective way to enhance comprehension
of atoms and molecules is to use three dimensional models. Also the models
were used for all three instructional levels: phenomena, symbolic and abstract.
Instruction with models should link the concept to the actual reaction observed
by the students, to the symbolic representation and to the atomic/molecular
description of the reaction.
The interviews allow us to look at some common misconceptions relating
to balancing equations and conservation of mass. Many students could not tell









the difference structurally between atoms and molecules. They could give
definitions but could not apply these definitions to applications. Also they did
not understand the implications of the conservation of mass law to balanced
chemical equations. When asked what it means for a chemical equation to be
balanced most said It's equal on both sides," and they did not know what "it"
was. They often said the molecules were equal. Students did not understand
the significance of coefficients in balancing equations either. In the equation
2 Mg + 02 ==> 2 MgO, many students did not understand what the number

"2" represented and how to use it in balancing equations.
2. There was a significant relationship between formal reasoning ability
and content performance independent of treatment. In all analyses run, this
variable indicated the highest significant relationship of all the mediating
variables. As can be seen from Table 4-4A, the majority of the students were
at the concrete level. This finding supports the results of Bitner-Corven (1989)
and Herron (1990). In order to understand the concepts being taught, these
students required the use of concrete, hands-on manipulatives.
The concepts of conservation of mass, balancing chemical equations and
atomic structure are all topics that require students to visualize microscopic
particles and then perform manipulations on these particles. Students at the
concrete level find it difficult or impossible to understand these ideas. Many
other concepts taught in chemistry also require a higher level of thinking and
reasoning. Abstract concepts and ideas are usually developed without
providing a concrete base to help the student's comprehension. Instruction is
frequently based on the memorization of these ideas without demonstrating the
atomic/molecular structure that underlies these concepts. As a result students









at the concrete level of reasoning rarely have success in traditional chemistry
instruction (Cantu & Herron, 1978,Lawson & Renner,1975). Further tests need
to be done to see which instructional type benefits these students the most.
The highest scores on the achievement posttest were obtained by the
students in the low formal reasoning group (Group 4). These students also had
the highest scores on each of the test parts. Achievement scores at each of the
extremes of the formal reasoning levels may not have been reliable, as the
sample sizes for these groups were small, which may explain why the
achievement in the high formal reasoning group was lower than the
achievement in low formal reasoning group. It also may explain why the low
concrete students had higher achievement scores on part 2 content of the
achievement test than the high formal reasoning group.
3. There was a significant relationship between each of the three spatial
visualization tests and content performance. However, in the analysis with all
three tests in the model only the Form Board Test and Hidden Figures Test were
significant. The Card Rotation Test was dropped from the model.
Each of the three visualization tests examined an important skill that is
used in chemistry. The Form Board Test measures a student's ability to put
pieces together to make a whole. Three dimensional manipulation and rotation
of objects is a skill often used in making new chemical compounds. The Hidden
Figures Test examines a student's ability to disembed a shape from a more
complex shape. This skill is used in the medical field, during surgery, and in
chemistry research in developing designer drugs and developing antibodies for
viruses. In high school chemistry, students can look at a three dimensional
molecule and see what component parts make up the molecule. For example,
they may see a hydroxyl group attached or note three nitrate ions are attached









in the whole compound. Chemistry comprehension can be enhanced by having
better visualization skills. For example, if students are able to visualize the
atomic/molecular level of molecular motion, they can take this information and
better apply it to more complex ideas such as gas laws or solution chemistry.
Thirty-one percent of the variance in the posttest scores was due to visualization
skills.
An analysis was done to examine the effect of instruction on visualization
skill. A new variable was calculated from the three independent visualization
variables and was used to classify students as low/medium or high visualizers.
Students classified as low visual in both the control and experimental groups
had lower scores on the achievement test. This finding indicates that if
students do not have good visualization skills already, they will not have high
achievement regardless of the instruction. However, students with medium and
high levels of visualization skills had enhanced achievement on the content test
when instruction was visual.
4. Is there a difference in content performance related to the combined
effect of instructional method, reasoning ability, and visualization?
Analysis of the content performance as the dependent variable and
precontent scores, reasoning ability and visualization skills, as independent
variables, was done to examine this question. It was found that chemistry
achievement as measured by the post content test was significantly related to
the Formal Reasoning test scores, the Hidden Figures test scores and the
precontent test scores. It could not be significantly predicted by the Form Board
Test or the Card Rotation Test. When the method of instruction was included in
the analysis, again only the Hidden Figures and Formal Reasoning test scores
were significantly related to chemistry achievement.









Cantu and Herron (1978) and Gabel and Samuel (1990) showed that
formal reasoning is significantly related to chemistry achievement. This study
corroborates their findings. Examination of correlation coefficients for the
posttest scores and formal reasoning scores gives the following information.
The correlation coefficient between total post test scores and formal reasoning
scores was 0.50, a moderate correlation. Part 2 of the posttest showed the
highest correlation, 0.53, to formal reasoning. Part 2 of the posttest examined
the concept of atoms and molecules in balancing equations and conservation of
mass, an abstract concept for students to grasp.
Implications for Curriculum and Instruction
For the topic of balancing equations and conservation of mass, a hands-
on, visual approach enhances chemistry comprehension at all three levels of
knowledge from the phenomenological to the atomic/molecular. By combining
instruction that provides microscale laboratory experiments with symbolic and
three dimensional modeling, students better understand the concept. Students
in the treatment group gave significantly more correct answers on part 2 of the
posttest content test. Instruction by teachers needs to include all three of these
levels of chemistry knowledge phenomenologicall, symbolic, and
atomic/molecular) in this topic as well as other topics.
An important linking of this concept to other concepts takes place from
students constructing these three dimensional models. Students start asking
questions about the structure/function relationship in chemistry. Using images
of molecules helps them to see how molecular structure affects such concepts
as reaction dynamics, rates, energies, and solubilities.







62

2. How do students learn the information (e.g. facts, concepts) that make
up chemistry?
Traditional chemistry instruction focuses on the algorithm of balancing
equations. Students typically memorize the algorithm and then use it. They do
not make the link between what they see in a laboratory experiment and what
is written symbolically. After a period of time, usually less than 2 weeks, the
algorithm is forgotten and students do not remember how to balance equations.
This became very obvious when the content test was initially field tested with
two chemistry classes. These classes had studied conservation of mass and
balancing equations within the last 2 weeks. Student achievement on the test
was approximately 20-25%, indicating they had quickly forgotten the material.
Postinstruction interviews with students from the control group showed
that they could not balance equations easily. They could not describe the
particles that made up the chemical equation in terms of atoms or molecules,
and when asked to explain the law of conservation of mass, numerous students
said they did not know what it was.
During the follow-up interviews, students were asked to transcribe a
chemical word equation into a symbolic equation, balance it, and describe the
particles. For example, this word equation was used: Magnesium reacts with
oxygen to yield magnesium oxide. Students in both control and experimental
groups had some difficulty performing this task. They could write the symbols
for the elements, magnesium and oxygen. Rarely did they show oxygen as a
diatomic molecule. The formula for magnesium oxide was also misrepresented.
Two common examples of answers for this reaction from students were
Mg + O ----> MgO and Mg + 02 --> MgO2









The second answer shows a misconception regarding how ions (charged
atoms) combine to form a compound. Only two of the students in the
experimental group and none in the control group were able to perform this
task. Students did not correctly balance charges in writing the chemical
formula. Writing these equations utilized concepts that had been taught
previously: differences between atoms and molecules and writing formulas.
These are abstract concepts and are difficult for students to master. One can
assume they did not comprehend the topic of writing formulas.
Because the students forget the chemistry concepts fairly rapidly, a
curriculum that allows for the topics to be reinforced periodically throughout the
text would be beneficial. The textbook Chemistry in the Community published
by the American Chemical Society is one attempt to do this. This textbook also
provides a Science-Technology-Society basis for instruction. Also a new
textbook, Visualizing Chemistry by Holt is currently using numerous two
dimensional and three dimensional atomic/molecular models throughout the
book to explain the concepts. This study leads to the hypothesis that these new
formats will improve comprehension for more students.
It is also important to note that students who are not visually oriented do
not do as well with a visual presentation. Howard Gardner (1993) proposed
that students have multiple intelligence and multiple learning styles. This
reinforces the idea that using only one method of instruction is insufficient to
reach all students. Teachers must make an effort to include instructional
methods that meet the needs of all their students.
3. What barriers limit students from achieving in chemistry?
From the data analysis, two factors seem to affect student achievement in
chemistry on the topics presented. These two factors are formal reasoning skills









and visualization skills. Approximately 25% of the variance in the chemistry
achievement test could be explained by the formal reasoning scores.
Because numerous concepts in chemistry are at the abstract level,
students at lower levels of reasoning often do not comprehend the concepts or
develop misconceptions. By measuring the formal reasoning levels of students
prior to instruction, the instructor can assist in student comprehension.
Instruction can provide concrete items for the student to use in bridging to the
abstract idea. Activities and lessons should be developed to move the student
from the concrete into the formal level of reasoning.
Visual spatial skills also affected the chemistry achievement. This
supports research by Barke (1993) who found that students who exhibited
greater visualization skills achieved higher scores on chemical structures.
These skills vary from visual observations to manipulation of 2-dimensional and
3-dimensional objects. Approximately 31% of the variance in the posttest score
could be explained by the scores on the spatial visualization test scores. It turns
out that for students who tested as strong on visualization skills, the treatment
helped.
Forty-one percent of the variance could be explained by the formal
reasoning and spatial visualization measures. The study indicates that these
are two key barriers to student achievement in chemistry. The final analysis
shows that the teacher was significantly related to chemistry achievement. The
posttest achievement scores for one teacher were significantly higher than they
other two teachers. Even though a curriculum guide was provided, the teachers
may not have followed it exactly. This brings to mind the problems encountered
with the science curriculum projects in the 1970's. Most of these curriculum
projects were not successful due to lack of training and continuation of feedback









for teachers. Even with a desire to change teaching styles, it is difficult for
teachers to deviate from a method that they have used in the past. Another
possible reason is that the teachers themselves had difficulty making the
connections between the phenomenological, symbolic and atomic/molecular
levels of instruction.
Conclusions

Further research in other chemistry topics using a visual spatial means of
instruction is needed to determine if certain visual spatial skills are used in
different chemistry topics. For example, the Card Rotation test was not
significantly related to achievement on the topic of balancing equations and
conservation of mass. However, it may be more strongly related to other
chemistry topics. Other visualization tests need to be developed for the different
visual spatial skills as described by McKim (1980) and McCormick (1988).
Instruction techniques, taking into account the reasoning level and
possibly the visualization level of students, should be developed and tested.
Students at the concrete level should be provided hands-on concrete materials
to work with when studying abstract concepts. Every measure should be taken
during instruction to help students make links between the phenomenological,
symbolic, and atomic/molecular level of knowledge comprehension.
Research has also shown that visualization skills can be learned.
Students should be given numerous opportunities to practice visualization
skills. Observing a reaction, graphing gas relationships, and examining
molecular structure are all visualization skills that are used in chemistry.
Continued practice in all areas would help develop these skills.
The research in these two areas has been sporadic and ranges over a 20







66

year period. Most of the research has taken place at the college level, with little
emphasis on high school students. The type of instruction necessary for higher
achievement in chemistry has only been examined for a few topics. All of these
factors gives rise to a real need for more collaborative research on the
questions stated earlier in chapter 2.





























APPENDIX A
CURRICULUM GUIDE









TOPIC: BALANCING CHEMICAL EQUATIONS
AND CONSERVATION OF MASS

OBJECTIVES

INSTRUCTIONAL
1. To define chemical reaction and list the
reactants and products in a given reaction.
2. To use the correct symbols for the physical
state of each substance involved in chemical
equations.
3. To distinguish a chemical reaction from a
chemical equation and state what it means for
an equation to be balanced.
4. To distinguish subscripts and coefficients in
chemical equations.
5. To write balanced equations given names
and/or formulas for reactants and products.
6. To classify a given reaction as one of these
four types: single replacement, double
replacement, decomposition or synthesis.
7. To define each of the four types of reaction.
8. To predict the products and balance the
equation when given the reactants for one of
these four types of reactions.
9. To define stoichiometry
12. To differentiate the characteristics of
exothermic and endothermic reactions.


LABORATORY
1. To determine experimentally whether mass
is conserved in a particular set of chemical
reactions.
2. To observe some chemical reactions and
identify reactants and products of those
reactions.
3. To classify the reactions and write
balanced equations.
4. To find the ratio of moles of a reactant to
moles of a product in a chemical reaction. To
relate this ratio to the coefficients of these
substances in the balanced equation for the
reaction.









5. To compare the experimental mass of a
product of a chemical reaction with the mass
predicted for that product by calculation.
6. To compare the theoretical mass of one of
the products of a double replacement reaction
with the experimentally determined mass of
the same product.



MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT

The following materials and equipment are needed
for instruction of this topic. Quantities are given for two
students per lab group.


EXPERIMENT EQUIPMENT

CONSERVATION OF MASS
LAB 9 Balances
Erlenmeyer flask (125 ml
Rubber stopper


MATERIALS


1 M Na2CO3
1 M CaCl2
1 M H2SO4


Graduated cylinders
test tubes (2)
Corks for test tubes
Safety goggles and apron


TYPES OF CHEMICAL REACTIONS
LAB 14 Burners
Crucible tongs
Spatula
test tubes (7)
Test Tube Holder
Test Tube Rack
Wood splints
Fine sandpaper
Evaporating dish


Mossy Zinc
Copper Wire(10 cm)
Mg ribbon (5 cm)
CuCO3
6 M HCI
1 M CuSO4
0.1 M Zn(C2H302)2
0.1 M Na3PO4
1 M Na2SO4


Safety goggles and apron









RELATING MOLES TO COEFFICIENTS OF A CHEMICAL
EQUATION
LAB 15 Balance CuSO4
Burner Iron filings
Beakers (100 & 250 MI)
Graduated cylinder
Ring stand and ring
Wire gauze
Glass stirring rod
Safety goggles and apron

MOLE AND MASS RELATIONSHIP
LAB 16 Balance 6 M HCI
Burner NaHCO3
Evaporating Dish
Watch Glass
Spatula
Test Tube
Dropper pipette
Ring stand and ring
Wire gauze
Safety goggles and apron


MASS-MASS RELATIONSHIPS IN REACTIONS
LAB 17
Balance Zn(C2H302) 2H20
Graduated cylinder Na3PO4 *12 H20
Beakers (250 ml) 2 Distilled water
Beaker (100 ml)
Stirring rod
Ring stand and ring
Funnel
Filter paper
Safety goggles and apron

HEAT OF REACTION
LAB 15
Balance NaOH (s)
Spatula 1.0 M NaOH
Thermometer 1.0 M HCI
Graduated cylinder 0.5 M HCI
Styrofoam cups Safety goggles and apron









INSTRUCTIONAL CURRICULUM

Day 1 10 min I. Introduction to chemical reactions
A. Demonstration: Burning of Magnesium
(Remind students not to look directly at the burning
magnesium.)
Have students take observations and go
over them.
Reinforce definition of chemical
reaction/chemical change.
B. Write word equation of reaction on
board. (Magnesium reacts with oxygen to produce
magnesium oxide.)
*Ask students what information you can
get from word equations. (Limit to information can
get more information from equation written in
symbols.)
C. Write symbols of reaction on board.
(Mg(s) +02(g)- MgO(s) )
10 min *Introduce terms and symbols used in
writing equations.
(Example: s, I, g, +, == reactants,
products, etc.)
*Reinforce a chemical reaction is a
chemical change where there is a change in
properties and arrangement of atoms.
D. Atomic Models
Use models/magnets to represent
equation either on the board or
overhead. Have students use their
magnets to do the same.
Remind students the magnets are
just a visual tool/model to help us
understand what is going on in a
reaction. Each magnet represents an
atom.
15 min E. Example 2: Demonstration -
Electrolysis of water
*Have students take observations and
discuss.
Write the word equation on the board.
(Water decomposes into oxygen and
hydrogen.)
Have the students transcribe the word
equation into a symbolic equation.









*Students should do the reaction
with models/magnets to reinforce
the reaction.
10 min F. Review the concepts.
Q. What is the difference between a word
equation and a chemical equation?
Q. What information can be derived from a
chemical equation?

Homework: Worksheet 1 (Transcription of word equations into chemical
equations and drawing of models to represent equations.) Read Lab 9 and
do Prelab sheet.


Day 2: 5 min. Collect homework.
Check pre-lab sheet.

30 min -Lab 9: Conservation of Mass
Students will perform lab 9 from
Prentice-Hall. They will work in
pairs to do the lab.

10 min -Post lab discussion of
conservation of mass and how it
relates to writing equations.

10 min -Use models to show how the
conservation of mass law
applies to balancing
equations. Use this lab's
reaction for example.

Homework: Finish the Lab questions and calculations.
Have lab ready to turn in tomorrow.

Day 3: 5 min Collect lab reports.

10 min -Review how Empirical data allows
us toBalance Chemical Equations -
Class discussion Question and
answer format
5 min -Introduction of rules relating to
balancing equations (p.148 in
Chemistry, Addison-Wesley)
Introduce terms such as coefficient,









subscripts, etc.
10 min -Symbolically show conservation
of mass with reaction run in
demonstration #1
2Mg + 02 -2MgO
Have students work with
magnets/models to balance
the equation.
Students check work after teacher
does it on the board or overhead.
Do the same as above for
demonstration #2
2H20 -- H2 + 02
20 min -Pass out microscale equipment
and chemicals. Do 2-3 microscale
reactions on the overhead and at
desks. Have students write
observations. Students should
relate the qualitative observations
to the chemical reaction and
symbolic equation.
Students should use
models/magnets to visually see this
relationship.
Examples:
1. NaCI + AgNO3

2. Ba(NO3)2 + NaOH

3. Zn + HCI

Homework: Worksheet #2 Balancing
Equations/Conservation of Mass
Note: The Experimental group will have extra pages
dealing with visualization of atoms and molecules.


Day 4 Topic: Energy Changes with Reactions

10 min A. Brief Introduction to the idea of
endothermic and exothermic
reactions. Use a ziplock bag to run
the reactions in to
demonstrate qualitatively the two









types of reaction. Pass the bags
around and have students feel
them. If possible use the new
sports heat and cool bags, students
can see the everyday applications
of this idea. Examples: NaOH
pellets in water for the exothermic
and baking soda and vinegar
for the endothermic.
5 min B. Define and break the words
apart for comprehension.
15 min C. Write word equations on board
with energy units, transcribe to
chemical equation.
Have students use
magnets/models to
represent the balanced
equation and put their
answers on the board.
D. Work several other examples
where energy is written into the
equation or H value is given.
Have students determine if
they are exothermic or
endothermic.
5 min E. Review concepts covered.
F. Pass out pre-lab sheet for Lab

Homework: Worksheet #3 Balancing Equations with
energy terms

Day 5: Lab Heat of Reaction

5 min Collect homework.
Check pre-lab sheet. Go over
safety and instructions.

40 min Lab

15 min Begin post lab discussion. Have
students go over first the qualitative
observations (i.e. solution got hot
or cold). Continue the
next day the rest of the postlab
discussion if needed.









Homework: Finish Lab report for Day 8.


Day 6: Topic -- Types of Reactions

10 min Finish post lab discussion for the
previous lab. Answer any
questions student may
have about the lab report.

5 min Introduction to types of reaction:
Ask students for some examples of
material that has used the process
skill of classification before.
(Student answers).
Tell them that chemists classify
reactions into different types
depending on types of starting
reactants and ending products.
This is another tool to help them
understand about reactions, etc.

30 min Describe the first two types of
reactions (synthesis and
decomposition) using the
following procedure.
a. Show an example on the
video/videodisk or do a
demonstration.
b. Ask students about their
observations.
c. Give the definition using an
example (if possible the one on
the video/videodisk)
Write the word equation for the
reaction:
EXAMPLE: Sulfur reacts with
oxygen to yield sulfur dioxide.
Have the students transcribe into
the symbolic equation: EXAMPLE:
S + 02--SO2
Have the students use
models/magnets to represent
the reaction atomically and
molecularly.










d. Give the general equation for
the reaction.
R + S =p RS
e. Do 2-3 other examples:
Teacher does it
microscale/demo and students
write reactions.
Experimental group also uses
magnets for models.
15 min Review the above concepts with
the students.



Day 7: Continuation of Types of Reactions

5 min Collect lab reports.

5 min Review concepts covered
yesterday.

30 min Introduction of the next two types of
reaction (single and double
replacement reactions). Follow the
same procedure from the day
before:
a. Example
b. Definition
c. Writing the equation.
Do with magnets.
Experimental group
only.
d. Give general equation
e. Do 2-3 microexamples as
demo/student
activities.

15 min Pass out worksheet for homework
due in two days. Students should
begin and teacher assist them if
they have any questions. Pass out
prelab worksheet for Lab: Types of
Chemical Reaction.










Day 8: Topic Continuation of Reaction Types

20 min Review the types of reactions. If
possible have
demos/video/videodisk examples
available to show students.
Practice identifying them, writing
the equations and for the
experimental group depicting
them in molecular/atomic
format.
20 min Students work on worksheet due
for tomorrow. Teacher assists
students with any questions.
15 min Pre-lab discussion for Types of
Chemical Reactions Lab.
Discussion should focus on
safety/procedures



Day 9: Topic -- Types of Chemical Reaction Lab

5 min Check prelab sheet.

35 min Lab- microscale lab

10 min Assign lab questions for
homework.


Day 10: Topic Lab discussion

20 min Post lab discussion Use models
to discuss reactions, write the
reactions symbolically and
balance.
Experimental group work with
magnets.

35 min Pass out review sheet. Review
key concepts:
conservation of mass
energy changes in reactions









types of reactions
Relate each of the above to the
three concept levels:
phenomena, symbolically, and
atomic/molecularly.

Practice balancing equations with
students and identifying the type of
reactions


Day 11: Topic Review

15 min Grade homework. Review
concepts again.
Go over any conceptual problems
the students might have after
grading the homework.

30 min Students work in groups of two to
study and help each other prepare
for test. Students are given a list of
objectives for test they can study
from.


Day 12: Topic Chapter Test


See attached sheet for copy of test.


55 min

























APPENDIX B
CONTENT TEST








Chemistry Test
Name: Teacher:
Date: Period:
Part I: Multiple Choice 1 point each

Directions: For each of the following, choose the
correct answer and place the letter in the blank
space to the left. There is only one correct
answer per question.

1. In a chemical reaction the mass of the
products:
a. is less than the mass of the reactants
b. is greater than the mass of the
reactant
c. is equal to the mass of the reactants
d. has no relationship to the mass of the
reactants

2. The equation H3PO4 + 3 KOH,- K3P04 + 3 H20 is an
example of:
a. double replacement reaction
b. synthesis or combination reaction
c. decomposition reaction
d. single replacement reaction

-__ 3. The symbol A in a chemical equation means:
a. heat is supplied or evolved in the
reaction
b. a catalyst is needed
c. yields
d. precipitate










___ 4. The following equation shows the reaction that
occurs when nitroglycerine explodes.

4C3H509N3 -- 12C02 + 4 N2 + 02 + 10H20 +1725 kcal
This reaction is:
a. endothermic.
b. exothermic.
c. a combination reaction.
d. a combustion reaction.

5. In any chemical reaction, the quantities that are
conserved are:
a. the number of moles and the volumes.
b. the number of molecules and the volumes.
c. mass and the number of atoms.
d. mass and the number of moles.

__ 6. If it were possible to drop 12 atoms of copper
into a beaker containing nitric acid, how many molecules
of NO would be produced? The chemical reaction for this
is:

3 Cu (g) + 8 HNO3(aq) --* 3 Cu(N03)2(s) + 2 NO (g) + 4 H20 (I)

a. 2
b. 4
c. 8
d. 12

7. The new substances formed in a chemical reaction
are referred to as:
a. catalysts.
b. intermediates.
c. products.
d. reactants.










___ 8. Which of the following may be changed when
balancing chemical equations?
a. oxidation numbers
b. subscripts
c. atomic numbers
d. coefficients

___ 9. What coefficient should be placed before water
when the following equation is balanced?

Fe(OH)3 -- Fe203 + H20
a. 3
b. 2
c. 6
d. 4

10. The general form for a double replacement reaction
is:
a. element + compound -* element + compound
b. compound + compound -- compound + compound
c. compound -- two or more elements or compounds
d. element or compound + element or compound --
compound

_--11. As a student reacts zinc and hydrochloric acid in a
flask, he observes that the flask becomes hot. He should classify
this reaction as:
a. thermonuclear
b. synthesis
c. endothermic
d. exothermic

12. H2 + CI2 --. 2 HCI is an example of what type of
reaction?
a. synthesis
b. single replacement
c. decomposition
d. double replacement










___13. 2KC103 -- 2 KCI + 3 02 is an example of what type
of reaction?
a. synthesis
b. single replacement
c. decomposition
d. double replacement

Part II: Fill in the Blank.1 point each

Directions: For the following section,
complete the sentences with the correct
words) or phrasess.


14. A reaction that involves the interchange of the
positive and negative ions of two compounds is:


15. A chemical reaction that absorbs heat and
results in products that are higher in energy than
the reactants is:


16. What does it mean to refer to an equation as
"balanced"?




17. Describe the following reaction in terms of
molecules and atoms. 2H20 2H2 + 02









Part III: Balancing 2 point each

Directions: Balance the following equations
and tell what type of reaction it is:

18. NaCIO3 -- NaCI + 02

19. C3H8 + 02 --- CO + H20

20. NH4N02 N2 + H20

21. Zn + HNO3 -- Zn(N03)2 + H2


22. A student placed 8.25 grams of aluminum metal into an
aqueous hydrochloric acid solution. All of the aluminum reacted to
form aluminum chloride and hydrogen gas. No precipitate was
observed. The student later evaporated the water to leave solid
aluminum chloride. Write the balanced equation for the above
reaction and use the correct symbols for the physical state of each
substance involved.



Part IV. Types of Reactions
Directions: For each of the following reaction tell what
type of reaction it is and name each product and reactant.
2 points each
23. ZnCl2 + 2 AgNO3 -- Zn(NO3)2 + 2 AgCI


24. 4 Na + 02 -- 2 Na20


25. 2 LiF -- 2 Li + F2








26. Nal + Cs -- Csi + Na


Part V: 10 points total
Directions : Read the explanation for each
of the following and draw the particles
indicated.

Particles interact with one another in chemical
reactions. The coefficients in a balanced equation
show the lowest number of atoms and molecules
that react with one another leaving no particles
left over.

27. The balanced equation for the decomposition of
water is:
2H20 --2 2H2 + 02
Show how the reaction would look using the
following symbols. Let 0 stand for oxygen atoms
and for hydrogen atoms. Draw the
atoms/molecules for the reaction using 0 and *.
Example = H20 is 0 Describe the reaction in
terms of atoms and molecules.





28. The balanced equation for the reaction of
phosphorus and oxygen is:
2 P4 + 5 02 --- 2 P405
Show how the reaction would look in terms of
using 0 for phosphorus atoms and 0 for oxygen
atoms. Describe the reaction in terms of atoms
and molecules.










29. The compound and element in Box A react to
form a different element and one new compound.
Draw what happened in the reaction in Box B.
Write a balanced equation for the reaction.
Box A Box B




Equation: __

Chemical substances react in definite proportions
by mass. On the molecular level, atoms react with
one another resulting in different combinations of
atoms in which particles and mass are consumed.

30. In reality, many molecules of water
decompose, not only the two shown in the balanced
equation. Show how 10 water molecules in the
liquid state decompose to form gaseous hydrogen
and oxygen using pictures. Let ? equal water
molecules.







31. Solid carbon burns in oxygen gas to form
carbon dioxide gas. Start with 10 carbon atoms,
and use pictures to show the complete reaction.
Let equal carbon and O equal oxygen atoms.







87

32. Carbon dioxide gas, (CO2), reacts with solid
carbon, (C) to form carbon monoxide, (CO). Draw
pictures representing 5 atoms of carbon reacting
with sufficient carbon dioxide to form carbon
monoxide. Let equal carbon and O equal oxygen
atoms.
































APPENDIX C
STUDENT INTERVIEW SHEET









PART 1: HERE IS A WORD EQUATION, PLEASE REPRESENT IT IN
SYMBOLS. USE THE MAGNETS TO HELP YOU. TALK THROUGH THE
EXERCISE AS YOU ARE DOING IT PLEASE.

Iron reacts with oxygen to give iron (11l) oxide.









(Tell me how you got that.-Interviewer comment)


PART 2: HERE ARE SOME EQUATIONS WRITTEN IN SYMBOLS. CAN YOU
MODEL THIS EQUATION USING THE MAGNETS FOR ME? TALK THROUGH
WHAT YOU ARE DOING AS YOU DO IT PLEASE.


CaO + H20 ====> Ca(OH)2

2 Mg + 02 ==> 2 MgO

2 B2C ====> 2 B2 + C2 (nonsense reaction explanation)






























APPENDIX D
CORRELATIONS










Table 1.
Correlation coefficients































APPENDIX E
ANALYSIS OF PART 1 & 2 POSTTEST
& ATFR CODE










Mean Estimates
Level number Mean Std Error
1 5 4.00000 1.7531
2 40 2.25000 0.6198
3 19 4.94737 0.8993
4 14 9.57143 1.0477
5 7 571429 1.4816

Means Comparisons
Dan-MunPl-Me4nO 4 5 3 1 2
4 0.00000 3.85714 4.62406 5.57143 7.32143
5 -3.85714 0.00000 0.76692 1.71429 3.46429
3 -4.62406 -0.76692 000000 0.94737 2.69737
1 -5.57143 -1.71429 -0.94737 0.00000 1.75000
2 -7.32143 -3.46429 -2.69737 -1.75000 0.00000
Alph- 0.05
Comparisons for all pairs using Tukey-Kramer HSD
ql*
2.79097
Abs(Cf)-LSO 4 5 3 1 2
4 -4.13515 -1.20736 0.77055 0.12848 3.92406
5 -1.20736 -5.84798 -4.07036 -4.69185 -1.01811
3 0.77055 -4.07036 -3.54959 -4.55163 -0.35094
1 -0.12848 -4.69185 -4.55163 4.91942 -3.43957
2 3.92406 -1.01811 -0.35094 -3.43957 -2.44639
Postiv v wlue show pam of meam that Ire ulrantly ciffrent.

Table 1.
Analysis of Part 1 Posttest and ATFR Code

Mean Estimates
Level number Mean Std Error
1 5 18.4000 3.1961
2 40 193750 1.1300
3 19 24.232 1.6396
4 14 260000 1.9100
5 7 20428 2.7012

Means Comparisons )
Dif-Man[I])-Mmn 4 3 5 2 1
4 0.00000 1.73684 5.57143 6.62500 7.60000
3 -1.73684 0.00000 3.3459 4.88816 5.86316
5 -5.57143 -3.83459 0.00000 1.05357 202857
2 -6.62500 -4.88816 -1.05357 0.00000 0.97500
1 -7.60000 -5.86316 -2.02857 -0.97500 0.0000
Alph 0.05
Comparisons for all pairs using Tukey-Kramer HSD
q*
2.79097
Abs(Dlf)-LSD 4 3 5 2 1
4 -7.5389 -5.2886 -3.6618 0.4311 -2.7917
3 -5.2886 -6.4714 -4.9844 -06693 -4.1622
5 -3.6618 -4.9844 -10.6616 -7.1184 -9.6507
2 0.4311 -06693 -7.1184 -4.4601 -8.4863
1 -2.7917 -4.1622 -9.6507 -8.4863 -1Z.6150
tPoitlm vlus Whow Part of meas that a ignfcntly diffant.

Table 2.
Analysis of Part 2 Posttest and ATFR Code




Full Text
4. There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from the
combined effect of visualization, instructional method or reasoning ability.
Discussion of these results and their implications follows in Chapter 5.


Mean Estimates
Level
1
2
3
4
5
number
5
40
19
14
7
Mean
4.00000
225000
4.94737
9.57143
5.71429
Std Error
1.7531
0.6198
0.8993
1.0477
1.4816
Means
Comparisons )
Drt-Mean[i}-MnQ]
4
5
3
1
2
4
0.00000
3.85714
4.62406
5.57143
732143
5
-3.85714
0.00000
0.76692
1.71429
3.46429
3
-4.62406
-0.76692
0.00000
0.94737
2.69737
1
-5.57143
-1.71429 -0.94737
0.00000
1.75000
2
-7.32143
-3.46429 -2.69737
-1.75000
0.00000
Alpha-
0.05
Comparisons for all pairs using
Tukey-Kramer
HSD
2.79097
Abs(Dif)-LSO
4
5
3
1
2
4
-4.13515
-1.20736
0.77055
0.12848
3.92406
5
-1.20736
-5.84798
-4.07036
-4.69185
-1.01811
3
0.77055
-4.07036
-3.54959
-4.55163
-0.35094
1
-0.12848
-4.69185
-4.55163
-6.91942
-3.43957
2
3.92406
-1.01811
-0.35094
-3.43957
-2.44639
Positive values show pairs of mews that re spnifiontty different.
Table 1.
Analysis of Part 1 Posttest and ATFR Code
Mean
Estimates
T
Level
number
Mean
Std Error
1
5
18.4000
3.1961
2
40
19.3750
1.1300
3
19
24.2632
1.6396
4
14
26.0000
1.9100
5
7
20.4286
2.7012
Dif-Mean [i}-Mean [j]
4
3
Alpha- 0.05
Means Comparisons
5
5.57143
3.83459
0.00000
-6.62500 -4.88816 -1.05357 0.00000 0.97500
-7.60000 -5.86316 -2.02857 -0.97500 0.00000
4
0.00000
-1.73684
3
1.73684
0.00000
-5.57143 -3.83459
2
6.62500
4.88816
1.05357
1
7.60000
5.86316
2.02857
9
2.79097
Abs(Dif)-LSD
for all
pairs
using Tukey-Kramer HSD
4
3
5
2
1
-7.5389
-52886
-3.6618
0.4311
-2.7917
-5.2886
-6.4714
-4.9844
-0.6693
4.1622
-3.6618
-4.9844
-10.6616
-7.1184
-9.6507
0.4311
-0.6693
-7.1184
-4.4601
-8.4863
-2.7917
-4.1622
-9.6507
-8.4863
-12.6150
Positive values show pairs of means that ara significantly different.
Table 2.
Analysis of Part 2 Posttest and ATFR Code
93


APPENDIX H
ANALYSIS OF PART 2 POSTTEST
& VISUALIZATION SCORES


24
are used as explanations. They are asked to take apart whole molecules and
put them back together in a different arrangement and be able to conserve the
parts at the same time. Because chemistry relies so heavily on visual spatial
skills, visual spatial abilities should be important for success in chemistry.
Summary
Chemistry education researchers have sought to understand the
processes and abilities that affect chemistry achievement. Through a series of
aptitude tests researchers have identified student development in a variety of
areas. One such area is spatial ability. Atomic/molecular concepts are highly
abstract and require students to visualize microscopic particles not normally
seen. The students ability to visualize these models used for explanations play
an important role in student achievement.
Another area of importance to researchers is the reasoning level of
chemistry students. If students are able to comprehend the formal scientific
concepts as defined by Lawson and Renner (1975), they must be at the formal
reasoning level. Hairdar and Abraham (1991) found a signficant relationship
between students reasoning ability and concept comprehension scores.
Chemistry instruction often focuses on using algorithms to learn chemical
concepts. There is a need to make relevant links between the phenomena we
see in laboratories, the symbolic means chemists use to explain these
phenomena and the atomic/molecular explanations of the chemistry concept.
All of the above variables are important factors in chemistry comprehension.


106
Mitchell, J. (1985). Ninth Mental Measurement Yearbook. Lincoln, NE:
University of Nebraska Press.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (1988). Washington, DC:
U.S. Department of Education.
National Commission on Excellence in Education. (1983). A Nation at
Risk (455-B-2) Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, (1989). Curriculum and
Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics
Novick, S., & Nussbaum, J. (1981). Pupils understanding of the
particulate nature of matter: A cross-age study Science
Education. 65 12). 187-196.
Osborne, R. J., & Cosgrove, M. M. (1983). Students conceptions of the
changes of states of water. Journal of Research in Science
Teaching. 20 (9). 489-508.
Palland, G. J., & Seeber, F. (1984). Spatial ability and achievement in
introductory physics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching
21(3). 507-516.
Peltzer, A. (1988). The intellectual factors believed by physicists to be
most important to physics students. Journal of Research in
Science Education. 25 (91. 721-731.
Piaget, J. (1958). The origins of intelligence in children. New York:
International Universities Press.
Piaget, J. (1960). The psychology of intelligence. Totowa. NJ:
Littlefield, Adams.
Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1958). The growth of looial thinkino from
childhood to adolescence. New York: Basic Books.
Pribly, J. R., & Bodner, G. (1987). Spatial ability and its role in organic
chemistry: A study of four organic courses. Journal of Research in
Science Teaching, 24 (3), 229-240.
Raven, R. J. (1973). The development of a test of Piaget's logical
operations. Science Education 57(31 33-40.


Reasoning was administered as a measure of formal reasoning ability. The
tests were administered to 116 chemistry students selected from high schools
in South Central Florida. The students ranged in age from 16 to 18 years of
age.
Analysis of variance, analysis of covariance and general linear model
were the procedures used to analyze the data. The analysis of variance results
support the hypothesis that chemistry achievement is affected by formal
reasoning and the visualization ability as measured by the Hidden Figure test.
Also students at the concrete reasoning level did not perform as high as
students at the formal reasoning level on the content test. It was also found that
chemistry instruction using a greater visual means of instruction increased the
achievement of medium and high visualizers, but not low visualizers. These
effects were not supported in the analysis of covariance. Student
misconceptions relating to atomic/molecular structures were examined and
found to be resistant to change. This study has implications for instructional
methods and curriculum and supports further research into factors which affect
chemistry achievement.


47
Table 4-8
General Linear Model for the Hidden Figures Test and Total Posttest Score
Rsquare = 0.14
Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
1882.17
1882.17
17.68
Error
106
11282.75
106.44
Prob>F
Total Error
107
13164.92
0.0001
Table 4-9
General Linear Model for the Card Rotation Test and Total Posttest Score
Rsquare = 0.05
Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
618.23
618.23
5.28
Error
108
12635.62
116.99
Prob>F
Total Error
109
13253.86
0.0234
The Hidden Figures, Form Board and Card Rotation visualization tests
show that there Is a significant relationship between posttest achievement
scores and visual spatial ability as measured by these tests individually.
Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected. Table 4-10 shows the general linear
model for all the variables. Again, the GLM shows that there is a significant
relationship with the Hidden Figures test and Form Board. Card Rotation test Is
not significantly related.


15
For example, the classifications of reasoning ability resulting from the Arlin Test
are low concrete, high concrete, transitional, low formal, and high formal.
Relationship Between Formal Reasoning and Spatial Visualization
A study by Hakstain and Cattell (1974) of the interaction between spatial
orientation, spatial visualization and reasoning ability found a greater
correlation between spatial visualization and reasoning abilities. Spatial
visualization tasks are more complex than spatial orientation tasks. Tasks
requiring higher levels of reasoning correlated more strongly with the spatial
visualization than spatial orientation tasks. Kail and Pellegrino (1985) also
found that reasoning and spatial ability both are similar in that they consist of
complex levels.
Subject Matter and Visual Spatial Abilities
Visualization skills are not only important skills needed in doing scientific
research, they are also important skills needed for learning of content in subject
areas such as architecture, engineering, math, and physics. High correlations
between visual spatial abilities and aptitudes In math were found by Fennema
and Sherman (1977), Sherman (1980) and Stallings (1979). More recent
studies in math have examined the relationship between specific visualization
skills, math achievement, and instruction on the visualization skill. Wheatley
and Yackel (1990) found that visual spatial abilities are linked to the
understanding of geometrical concepts in second grade students. Ben-Chaim,
Lappan, and Houang (1988) found that for middle school students who had an
instructional visual spatial Intervention, spatial visualization skills improved and
were retained. The recent report Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for
School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989)
included a standard called spatial sense. The same spatial skills necessary for


APPENDIX G
ANALYSIS OF PART 1 POSTTEST
& VISUALIZATION SCORES


Chemistry Test
Name: Teacher:
Date: Period:
Part I: Multiple Choice 1 point each
Directions: For each of the following, choose the
correct answer and place the letter in the blank
space to the left. There is only one correct
answer per question.
1. In a chemical reaction the mass of the
products:
a. is less than the mass of the reactants
b. is greater than the mass of the
reactant
c. is equal to the mass of the reactants
d. has no relationship to the mass of the
reactants
2. The equation H3PO4 + 3 KOHK3PO4 + 3 H2O is an
example of:
a. double replacement reaction
b. synthesis or combination reaction
c. decomposition reaction
d. single replacement reaction
3. The symbol A in a chemical equation means:
a. heat is supplied or evolved in the
reaction
b. a catalyst is needed
c. yields
d. precipitate
80


65
for teachers. Even with a desire to change teaching styles, it is difficult for
teachers to deviate from a method that they have used in the past. Another
possible reason is that the teachers themselves had difficulty making the
connections between the phenomenological, symbolic and atomic/molecular
levels of Instruction.
Conclusions
Further research in other chemistry topics using a visual spatial means of
instruction is needed to determine if certain visual spatial skills are used in
different chemistry topics. For example, the Card Rotation test was not
significantly related to achievement on the topic of balancing equations and
conservation of mass. However, it may be more strongly related to other
chemistry topics. Other visualization tests need to be developed for the different
visual spatial skills as described by McKim (1980) and McCormick (1988).
Instruction techniques, taking into account the reasoning level and
possibly the visualization level of students, should be developed and tested.
Students at the concrete level should be provided hands-on concrete materials
to work with when studying abstract concepts. Every measure should be taken
during instruction to help students make links between the phenomenological,
symbolic, and atomic/molecular level of knowledge comprehension.
Research has also shown that visualization skills can be learned.
Students should be given numerous opportunities to practice visualization
skills. Observing a reaction, graphing gas relationships, and examining
molecular structure are all visualization skills that are used in chemistry.
Continued practice in all areas would help develop these skills.
The research in these two areas has been sporadic and ranges over a 20


35
Limitations
This section contains a description of the external threats to validity.
Certain threats could not be avoided, but every effort was taken to minimize
these effects.
To make sure that there was minimal teacher effect in this study, a
concise script of the curriculum was provided and explained by the investigator.
Journal keeping and video taping were also be done to provide further
validation that the curriculum was followed as directed.
A second limitation relates to the nature of the subject area. Students
taking this course normally exhibit a higher ability level in math and problem
solving than the average 11th or 12th grade. Several types of students may
have been scheduled into a particular class due to other scheduling conflicts.
For example, band is only offered during one period of the day, and honors
classes are only offered during one period. When choosing which groups to
use as control and experimental, an effort was made to ensure that the overall
groups were not significantly different.


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18
who failed a Rotations pretest were given instruction in the skill. The
instructional method was developed to help students visualize three-
dimensional rotation of molecules. It focused on using depth cues, shadows,
and models. Students who received training showed a significant increase in
their ability to visualize the rotation of three-dimensional models of chemicals,
thus indicating visual spatial skills can be taught in chemistry.
In chemistry, understanding of the concepts of molecular structure and
stereochemistry depends on the visual-spatial abilities of students. Holford and
Kempa (1970) found that instruction using stereoscopic presentations improved
the visualizing ability of three dimensional relationships in college structural
chemistry students. They used programmed instructional booklets that required
students to use stereoscopic viewers. Using the stereoscopic viewers
contributed positively to the ability to visualize and interpret structures
represented by a photograph. This, of course, ties into the structure/function
relationship that was mentioned earlier and is so important to chemistry. Hill
(1971) found that remediation and instruction in spatial skills improved student
achievement in specific stereochemical topics at the college level.
George and Fensham (1973) reported successful teaching strategies in
relating three dimensional models, two dimensional drawings, and other written
symbols to primary, secondary and tertiary alcohol structures in a college
organic chemistry course. In this study the students made drawings of the three
dimensional structures, with an emphasis on orientation and perception.
Including these instructional techniques increased student comprehension and
achievement. Clements and Lean (1981) found that in students who
constructed three dimensional models from two dimensional chemical models,
comprehension of structure increased.


49
visualization test showed no interaction effect between group and form board
test, hidden figures test, and card rotation test.
A final analysis was done to include precontent scores along with the
three visualization scores as independent variables. The Form Board test.
Hidden Figures Test and Precontent scores all were significantly related to the
posttest content scores. The Card Rotation Test was not significantly related to
the posttest scores in any of these whole model tests.
The visualization scores were converted to percentages and added to
give a new variable called total percent visualization. Analysis was done using
this variable and the posttest scores for each instructional group, traditional and
visual. For the group receiving traditional instruction, 13% of the variance on
their achievement scores could be explained by their visualization scores,
whereas for the experimental group, 26% of the variance on the achievement
scores could be explained by their visualization scores.
The total visualization score was divided into high, medium, and low
scores according to the quartile rankings. Low was classified as the lower 25%
on the total score. Medium was classified as from 25% to 75%. High scores
were above 75% of the total score. Numerically, low scores were classified as
below 192 out of 300. Medium scores were scores between 192 and 252 out of
300. High visualization scores were ones above 252 out of 300. On examining
the achievement scores of the two instructional groups, despite instructional
type, the students with low visualization skills do not perform well on this test.
However, for students classified as medium or high visualizers the method of
instruction increased their achievement on the content test. Instruction seemed
to have the greatest effect on the students who had medium visualization skills.


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Mary fyipa Rowe, Chair
RtofeSsor of Instruction and
Curriculum
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
'Jjf'i'da. C'unun
Linda Cronin-Jones, Co-Chair
Associate Professor of
Instruction and Curriculum
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Curriculum
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
David Smith,
Professor of Educational
Leadership


46
orientation, size, and shape are important. Students must be able to not only
rotate objects mentally, but also put them together into to form a particular
shape. Again, a chemistry student would use this skill in putting the various
monoatomic and polyatomic ions together to form the chemical compounds.
The geometry or structure of the compound better explains how they react.
Because chemistry uses many different models and diagrams, one would
assume that students who have a greater ability to visualize would have greater
chemistry achievement. If they do not have better achievement then there is no
factor.
The statistics in this section are used to examine the following hypothesis:
Ho: There is no significant relationship between students' scores on the
three visualization tests and chemistry achievement.
The following tables, Table 4-7 through 4-9, show the statistics for
determining a relationship between chemistry achievement and each individual
test. The final table. Table 4-8, indicates the full model statistical analysis. The
value of R2 was higher for the Form Figures test than for Card Rotation and
Hidden Figures tests. This indicates a greater variance in the posttests was due
to this variable.
Table 4-7
General Linear Model for the Form Board Test and Total Posttest Score
Rsquare = 0.16
Source
DF
ss
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
2121.86
2121.86
20.69
Error
110
11279.13
102.54
Prob>F
Total Error
111
13400.99
0.0000


CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
Overview
This study was designed to examine the visual spatial and formal
reasoning performance of students and how these two factors affect the
comprehension of the abstract concept of atoms and molecules. The context
for the Investigation is the study of the chemical topics of conservation of mass
and balancing equations. It was hypothesized that the use of visual modeling
by students would increase their conceptual understanding of these topics. It
was further hypothesized that there would be a relationship between student
performance on visual spatial tasks and their achievement in chemistry.
In Chapter 3 the study sample, the curriculum, the spatial evaluation
Instruments used to measure the different visual spatial tasks, the formal
reasoning test and the Instrument used to measure chemistry achievement are
described. The data collection and statistical data analysis procedures used
are also described.
Study Sample
The hypotheses were tested with students from high schools located In
the Desoto County School System and the Hardee County School Systems in
Florida. All participants were in the 11th or 12th grade and were taking
chemistry. Students could not be randomly selected for the investigation, and
Intact chemistry classes were used. Traditionally, the prerequisites for taking
chemistry are previous course work in biology and algebra. These
25


77
Day 8: Topic Continuation of Reaction Types
20 min
Review the types of reactions. If
possible have
demos/video/videodisk examples
available to show students.
Practice identifying them, writing
the equations and for the
experimental group depicting
them in molecular/atomic
format
20 min
Students work on worksheet due
for tomorrow. Teacher assists
15 min
students with any questions.
Pre-lab discussion for Types of
Chemical Reactions Lab.
Discussion should focus on
safety/procedures
Day 9: Topic-
- Types of Chemical Reaction Lab
5 min
Check prelab sheet.
35 min
Lab- microscale lab
10 min
Assign lab questions for
homework.
Day 10: Topic Lab discussion
20 min
Post lab discussion Use models
to discuss reactions, write the
reactions symbolically and
balance.
Experimental group work with
magnets
35 min
Pass out review sheet. Review
key concepts:
conservation of mass
energy changes in reactions


63
The second answer shows a misconception regarding how ions (charged
atoms) combine to form a compound. Only two of the students in the
experimental group and none in the control group were able to perform this
task. Students did not correctly balance charges in writing the chemical
formula. Writing these equations utilized concepts that had been taught
previously: differences between atoms and molecules and writing formulas.
These are abstract concepts and are difficult for students to master. One can
assume they did not comprehend the topic of writing formulas.
Because the students forget the chemistry concepts fairly rapidly, a
curriculum that allows for the topics to be reinforced periodically throughout the
text would be beneficial. The textbook Chemistry in the Community published
by the American Chemical Society is one attempt to do this. This textbook also
provides a Science-Technology-Society basis for instruction. Also a new
textbook, Visualizing Chemistry by Holt is currently using numerous two
dimensional and three dimensional atomic/molecular models throughout the
book to explain the concepts. This study leads to the hypothesis that these new
formats will improve comprehension for more students.
It is also important to note that students who are not visually oriented do
not do as well with a visual presentation. Howard Gardner (1993 ) proposed
that students have multiple intelligences and multiple learning styles. This
reinforces the idea that using only one method of instruction is insufficient to
reach all students. Teachers must make an effort to include instructional
methods that meet the needs of all their students.
3. What barriers limit students from achieving in chemistry?
From the data analysis, two factors seem to affect student achievement in
chemistry on the topics presented. These two factors are formal reasoning skills


83
13. 2KCIC>3 > 2 KCI + 3 02 is an example of what type
of reaction?
a. synthesis
b. single replacement
c. decomposition
d. double replacement
Part II: Fill in the Blank. 1 point each
Directions: For the following section,
complete the sentences with the correct
word(s) or phrase(s).
14.A reaction that involves the interchange of the
positive and negative ions of two compounds is:
15.A chemical reaction that absorbs heat and
results in products that are higher in energy than
the reactants is:
16.What does it mean to refer to an equation as
"balanced"?
17.Describe the following reaction in terms of
molecules and atoms. 2H2O 2H2 + O2


13
Visual spatial perception is defined as the ability to form mental images
of observed objects and to observe fine details of objects. This is the simplest of
all the skills and is commonly called observation in science. In chemistry, one
carefully observes reactions and the property changes that occur. In biology,
careful observations led to the main classification schemes used for all plant
and animal life. Taking careful and exact observations is one process skill that
all chemistry teachers emphasize.
Visual spatial memory allows the storage and retrieval of mental images.
It also allows a student to visualize an object when given a description of the
object. In chemistry, models are frequently used to represent the
atomic/molecular level of chemistry. The students see three dimensional
models or two dimensional diagrams and store them in their memory. Later
when the teacher discusses the molecule, students can retrieve these images
and use them to add functional/physical characteristics to that molecule. A
specific example would be when students learn the structure of the alcohols.
After learning the three dimensional structure of the alcohol, they then learn
about how the structure of the molecule may affect the property of solubility.
Logical visual spatial thinking consists of such skills as pattern finding,
interpreting two dimensional representations of two dimensional objects, mental
rotations of objects, and looking from a different perspective. The majority of
visual operations McKim (1980) identified are clustered in this category.
Chemistry texts are full of diagrams that depict the atoms and molecules and
their interactions. These are two dimensional images and from this, students
must equate those pictures with dynamic particles that cannot be seen, just
inferred. The three dimensional molecules that students make are critical to the
understanding of the structure/function relationships for these molecules.


87
32. Carbon dioxide gas, (CO2), reacts with solid
carbon, (C) to form carbon monoxide, (CO). Draw
pictures representing 5 atoms of carbon reacting
with sufficient carbon dioxide to form carbon
monoxide. Let equal carbon and 0 equal oxygen
atoms.


Evaluation Instruments 27
Visual Spatial Tests 27
Card Rotation Test 27
Form Board 28
Hidden Figures Test 29
Content Test 30
Formal Reasoning Test 31
Data Collection 32
Data Analysis 34
Limitations 35
4 RESULTS 36
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement
and Instruction 37
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement
and Formal Reasoning 41
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement
and Visualization Skills 45
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement,
Visualization, Formal Reasoning and
Instructional Method 50
Summary 51
5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 53
Review of the Study 53
Summary of the Results 54
Implications for Curriculum and Instruction 61
Conclusions 65
APPENDIX
A Curriculum Guide 67
B Content Test 79
C Student Interview 88
D Correlational Data 90
E Analysis of Part 1 & 2 Posttest & ATFR code 92
IV


subscripts, etc.
10 min 'Symbolically show conservation
of mass with reaction run in
demonstration #1
2 Mg + 02 -# 2MgO
Have students work with
magnets/models to balance
the equation.
Students check work after teacher
does it on the board or overhead.
Do the same as above for
demonstration #2
2 H2O * H2 + O2
20 min 'Pass out microscale equipment
and chemicals. Do 2-3 microscale
reactions on the overhead and at
desks. Have students write
observations. Students should
relate the qualitative observations
to the chemical reaction and
symbolic equation.
Students should use
models/magnets to visually see this
relationship.
Examples:
1. NaCI + AgN03
2. Ba(N03)2 + NaOH
3. Zn + HCI
Homework: Worksheet #2 Balancing
Equations/Conservation of Mass
Note: The Experimental group will have extra pages
dealing with visualization of atoms and molecules.
Day 4 Topic: Energy Changes with Reactions
10 min A. Brief Introduction to the idea of
endothermic and exothermic
reactions. Use a ziplock bag to run
the reactions in to
demonstrate qualitatively the two


5
With these tactors in mind, a study of the impacts of prior misconceptions,
visual spatial ability, formal reasoning ability, and instruction in these three
areas on learning chemistry concepts at the high school level seems
appropriate.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this investigation was to identify factors that influence
achievement in chemistry by comparing the achievement of high school
chemistry students who receive a visually enhanced treatment of the topic of
balancing equations and conservation of mass with students who receive
traditional instruction (without visuals) on the same topics.
Procedures
The subjects in the study were students currently enrolled in chemistry at
three different high schools. Two classes of chemistry for three different
chemistry teachers made up the sample. Each teacher instructed a control
group and an experimental group. The subjects in the control group followed
the traditional chemistry curriculum on the topic of conservation of mass and
balancing of equations. The subjects in the experimental groups experienced a
highly visual presentation of these topics. This included the use of three-
dimensional visual models and two-dimensional drawings. The primary
difference in the treatments was the mode of presentation. Each treatment
lasted for 3 weeks.
Research Questions
Five research questions were investigated in this study:
1. Will chemistry achievement be greater for a highly visual treatment of
a topic in chemistry compared to achievement following traditional treatment?
2. Will the difference in mean posttest content scores for the two


17
Examining models of molecules from different perspectives leads to a greater
understanding of the structure/function relationship.
Scientists often explain their data by use of models (i.e., the atom,
electron clouds and DNA). In chemistry students are asked to visualize such
models and recall them at a later time. For example, the models of atomic
structure and electron structure are applicable here. We draw pictures of
electron clouds and their interactions. We then use these pictures to explain
how and why bonding between atoms occurs.
Many great inventors and scientists derived their success from their
ability to visualize concepts or solutions to a problem. Roe (1952) interviewed
64 prominent scientists, and the majority said they relied heavily on
visualization to help them in their research. A well-known example was Albert
Einstein. In his book Autobiographical Notes. (Einstein,1979), he described his
thinking as a process where he sees pictures in his mind and manipulates
these pictures in order to solve a problem. Another famous scientist/inventor
who depended on visualization was the Russian physicist Telsa. His images of
parts and whole machines are legendary. He was able to see how machines
worked and even would allow them to run in his mind. All this was done by
visualizing before the actual models were built. Similarly, Thomas Edison often
used mental images that he combined in order to solve the problems he had
with devices such as the telegraph. In chemistry, Friedrick Kekule claimed that
his discovery of the ring structure of benzene was stimulated by a dream in
which he saw a snake biting its tail.
Factors that Affect Chemistry Learning
Seddon, Enialyeju, and Josoh (1984) studied the visual spatial abilities
of Nigerian students who had completed their 11th year of schooling. Students


28
eight drawings of that same shape. The drawings have been rotated from the
original orientation, flipped over or flipped and rotated from the original
orientation. For each of the eight drawings the student must decide if the
original drawing and it are same orientation or flipped orientation. Students
mark a + if they are the same and a if they are flipped. A sample drawing is
shown in Figure 3-1.
Although the original test was supposed to be a timed test, this
investigation focused on overall visual spatial ability rather than speed of
visualization. Therefore, the test was not timed and students were allowed to
work at their own pace. This test was selected due to the similar skills needed
in science for rotating molecules in space in the study of stereoisomers.

P c=o ^
SEE B E B B B
Figure 3-1. Sample Card Rotation Problem
Form Board
The first Form Board Test was developed in 1930 by Paterson, Elliott,
Anderson,Toops, and Heidbreder in a study on mechanical ability. The test was
revised and included in the Kit of Reference Tests for Cognitive Factors It has
undergone several revisions and is commonly used to test spatial visualization.
The test used in this study was taken from the Kit of Reference Tests for
Cognitive Factors The purpose of the test is to measure a student s ability to
identify the individual pieces that fit together to make up a whole figure.


PART 1: HERE IS A WORD EQUATION, PLEASE REPRESENT IT IN
SYMBOLS. USE THE MAGNETS TO HELP YOU. TALK THROUGH THE
EXERCISE AS YOU ARE DOING IT PLEASE.
Iron reacts with oxygen to give iron (III) oxide.
(Tell me how you got that.-lnterviewer comment)
PART 2: HERE ARE SOME EQUATIONS WRITTEN IN SYMBOLS. CAN YOU
MODEL THIS EQUATION USING THE MAGNETS FOR ME? TALK THROUGH
WHAT YOU ARE DOING AS YOU DO IT PLEASE.
CaO + H2O ====> Ca(OH)2
2 Mg + O2 ====> 2 MgO
2 B2C ====> 2 B2 + C2 (nonsense reaction explanation)
89


APPENDIX C
STUDENT INTERVIEW SHEET


58
the difference structurally between atoms and molecules. They could give
definitions but could not apply these definitions to applications. Also they did
not understand the implications of the conservation of mass law to balanced
chemical equations. When asked what it means for a chemical equation to be
balanced most said It's equal on both sides, and they did not know what it"
was. They often said the molecules were equal. Students did not understand
the significance of coefficients in balancing equations either. In the equation
2 Mg + 02 ===> 2 MgO, many students did not understand what the number
2 represented and how to use it in balancing equations.
2. There was a significant relationship between formal reasoning ability
and content performance independent of treatment. In all analyses run, this
variable indicated the highest significant relationship of all the mediating
variables. As can be seen from Table 4-4A, the majority of the students were
at the concrete level. This finding supports the results of Bitner-Corven (1989)
and Herron (1990). In order to understand the concepts being taught, these
students required the use of concrete, hands-on manipulatives.
The concepts of conservation of mass, balancing chemical equations and
atomic structure are all topics that require students to visualize microscopic
particles and then perform manipulations on these particles. Students at the
concrete level find it difficult or impossible to understand these ideas. Many
other concepts taught in chemistry also require a higher level of thinking and
reasoning. Abstract concepts and ideas are usually developed without
providing a concrete base to help the students comprehension. Instruction is
frequently based on the memorization of these ideas without demonstrating the
atomic/molecular structure that underlies these concepts. As a result students


3
explaining abstract concepts even after sustained instruction (Yarroch, 1985;
Gabel, 1993). Research studies focusing on the gas laws, equilibrium,
balancing equations, and the particulate nature of matter have all shown that
these misconceptions are difficult to change ( Gabel, 1993; Yarroch, 1985). A
majority of students from elementary through college have alternative
conceptions about atomic and molecular models (Ben-Zvi, Eylong, &
Silversteln, 1986; Novick & Nussbaum, 1981; Osborne & Cosgrove, 1983).
Chemical educators believe that the understanding and use of atomic and
molecular concepts are important in teaching chemistry ( Haidar & Abraham,
1991). Educators also believe that student understanding of the concepts of the
atom and molecule is fundamental to learning other chemistry concepts such as
chemical bonding, chemical reactions, ions, and states of matter ( Ben-Zvi,
Eylong, & Sllberstein, 1986; Griffiths & Preston, 1992). Looking into the
reasons behind these alternate conceptions allows us to look at both how
students learn chemistry and how chemistry is taught.
Visual Spatial Abilities
Although technical vocabulary and the use of symbols underpins all of
chemistry teaching and learning, other Important aspects include the visual
ability of the learners and use of visual models in instruction. Chemistry
students are often required to visualize abstract concepts such as atoms and
molecules. Students must observe at the macroscopic (phenomena) level and
relate these changes to the microscopic (atomic/molecular) level. Ben-Zvi,
Eylong, and Silberstein (1982, 1986) found that students have difficulty making
this transition.


103
Carter, C LaRussa, M. & Bodner, G, (1987). A study of two measures
of spatial ability as predictors of success in different levels of
general chemistry. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 24
(7). 645-658.
Clements, M. A., & Lean, G. (1981). Spatial ability, visual imagery, and
mathematical learning. Educational Studies in Mathematics.
12 (3), 267-299.
Del Grande, J. (1990). Spatial Sense, Arithmetic Teacher. 37 (6), 14-20.
Einstein, A. (1979). Autobiographical Notes. (Centennial ed.).
LaSalle, IL: Open Court.
Ekstrom, R. B French, J. W., Harman, H. H & Dermen, D. (1976).
Manual for kit of factor-referenced cognitive tests. Princeton,
NJ: Educational Testing Service.
Eliot, J., & Smith, I. M. (1983). An International Directory of Spatial
Tests. London, England: Nelson.
Fakouri, M. E. (1985). Review of Arlin test of formal reasoning. In D. J.
Keyser & R. C. Sweetland (Eds.), Test critiques (Vol. II, pp. 40-44)
Kansas City, MO: Test Corporation of America.
Fennema, E., & Sherman, J. (1977). Sex-related differences in
mathematics, achievement, spatial visualization and affective
factors. American Educational Research Journal. 14. 51-71.
French, J. W. (1951). The description of aptitude and achievement in
terms of rotated factors. (Report No. 8). Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
French, J. W. (1954). Manual for kit of selected tests for reference
aptitude and achievement factors. Princeton, NJ: Educational
Testing Service.
French, J. W. Ekstrom, R & Price, L. (1963). Kit of reference tests for
cognitive factors. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
Gabel, D. (1993). Use of the Particle Nature of Matter in Developing
Conceptual Understanding. Journal of Chemical Education. 70
(3),193-194.


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
School of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE EFFECTS OF FORMAL REASONING ABILITY,
SPATIAL ABILITY, AND TYPE OF INSTRUCTION
ON CHEMISTRY ACHIEVEMENT
By
Cynthia Trexler Holland
December, 1995
Chair: Mary Budd Rowe
Cochair: Linda Cronin-Jones
Major Department: Instruction and Curriculum
The purpose of this investigation was to identify factors that influence
achievement in chemistry by comparing the achievement of high school
chemistry students who receive a visually enhanced treatment of the topic of
balancing equations and conservation of mass with students who receive
traditional instruction (without visuals) on the same topics.
Three different visualization tests were administered prior to instruction in
order to determine the students level of visual ability. Card Rotation test scores
represent the ability to rotate an object in two dimensional space. Hidden
Figures test scores represent the ability to disembed a figure from a more
complex one. Form Board test scores measures how well students can rotate
multiple objects and make a more complex object. The Arlin Test of Formal
VI


61
Cantu and Herron (1978) and Gabel and Samuel (1990) showed that
formal reasoning is significantly related to chemistry achievement. This study
corroborates their findings. Examination of correlation coefficients for the
posttest scores and formal reasoning scores gives the following information.
The correlation coefficient between total post test scores and formal reasoning
scores was 0.50. a moderate correlation. Part 2 of the posttest showed the
highest correlation, 0.53, to formal reasoning. Part 2 of the posttest examined
the concept of atoms and molecules in balancing equations and conservation of
mass, an abstract concept for students to grasp.
Implications for Curriculum and Instruction
For the topic of balancing equations and conservation of mass, a hands-
on, visual approach enhances chemistry comprehension at all three levels of
knowledge from the phenomenological to the atomic/molecular. By combining
instruction that provides microscale laboratory experiments with symbolic and
three dimensional modeling, students better understand the concept Students
in the treatment group gave significantly more correct answers on part 2 of the
posttest content test. Instruction by teachers needs to include all three of these
levels of chemistry knowledge (phenomenological, symbolic, and
atomic/molecular) In this topic as well as other topics.
An important linking of this concept to other concepts takes place from
students constructing these three dimensional models. Students start asking
questions about the structure/function relationship in chemistry. Using images
of molecules helps them to see how molecular structure affects such concepts
as reaction dynamics, rates, energies, and solubilities.


10
French (1951) also identified two components of spatial ability: spatial
orientation and spatial visualization. Spatial orientation is defined as the ability
to remain unconfused by the varying orientations in which a spatial pattern may
be presented" (p.241). Spatial visualization is defined as the ability to
manipulate multiple objects in the mind.
French, Ekstrom, and Price (1963), Guilford and Lacey (1947), and
Thurstone (1938) all developed spatial tests for measuring the three different
components of spatial relations, spatial orientation and spatial visualization.
These tests can be identified in the International Directory of Spatial Tests (Eliot
& Smith, 1983) and in the Ninth Mental Measurement Yearbook (Mitchell.
1985).
The accuracy and speed with which individuals solve spatial problems is
one dependent on the individual's spatial ability. Some students may take a
long time to solve a spatial problem, while others take less time. Students who
work problems fast may give both correct and incorrect answers. Speed does
not correlate positively with accuracy. Timing a visual spatial test may not result
in an accurate measurement of the student's visual spatial ability. Therefore,
research using timed tests is not necessarily the best indicator of how much
visual spatial capability a person has. Because of these individual differences
in processing rates, students need to have enough time to process the spatial
problem
Visualization Skills
Two important researchers in the area of visualization and science are
Robert McKim and Alan McCormick. McKim (1980) identified several types of
visualization skills, starting with simple observation to more complex image
synthesis. Some of these operations of visual thinking are: pattern seeking,


Level
number
Mean
Std Error
1
5
22.4000
4.5503
2
40
21.6250
1.6088
3
19
29.2105
2.3342
4
14
35.5714
2.7193
5
7
26.1429
3.8457
Means Comparisons )
Dif=Mean[i]-Mean[j]
4
3
5
1
2
4
0.0000
6.3609
9.4286
13.1714
13.9464
3
-6.3609
0.0000
3.0677
6.8105
7.5855
5
-9.4286
3.0677
0.0000
3.7429
4.5179
1
-13.1714
6.8105
-3.7429
0.0000
0.7750
2
-13.9464
7.5855
-4.5179
-0.7750
0.0000
Alpha= 0.05
Comparisons for
all pairs
using
Tukey-
Kramer
HSD
q *
2.79097
Abs(Dif)-LSD
4
3
5
1
2
4
-10.7332
-3.6413
-3.7169
-1.6233
5.1282
3
-3.6413
-9.2133
-9.4880
-7.4627
-0.3267
5
-3.7169
-9.4880
-15.1790
-12.8849
-7.1167
1
-1.6233
-7.4627
-12.8849
-17.9601
-12.6951
2
5.1282
-0.3267
-7.1167
-12.6951
-6.3498
Positive values show pairs of means that are significantly different.
Table 1.
Analysis of Total Posttest and ATFR Code
95


19
Baker and Talley (1974) Investigated the relationship between
achievement scores and visual spatial abilities for college Inorganic chemistry
students. The exam scores were subgrouped according to Bloom's Taxonomy.
They found a strong positive correlation between achievement and visual
spatial abilities. Specifically, the scores on the higher levels of subgroup
questions (analysis, synthesis and evaluation ) showed a positive correlation to
visual spatial abilities. Prlbly and Bodner (1987) examined the relationship
between visual spatial ability and exam scores in college students taking
organic chemistry. Students with higher visual spatial skills did better on
problem-solving and three dimensional rotation exercises on the exams. The
visual spatial skills examined included perception, orientation, and rotation of
molecules.
Carter, LaRussa, and Bodner (1987) also examined the visual spatial
abilities of general college chemistry students. These abilities were analyzed
with regard to exam scores, types of exam questions and gender. The exams
were subscored Into 35 different categories according to the type of question.
Categories included recall, problem solving, and dimensional analysis. An
analysis of variance showed that there was a significant correlation between
visual spatial abilities and exam total scores and subscores. Thirty-two of the
35 subscores identified by question type (recall, problem solving, etc.) showed
significant correlation with regard to high/medium/low visual spatial students.
Students who were found to be highly visual had more correct answers on the
question types that required more problem solving than students who were
classified as low visual spatial. No correlation with gender was found.
Despite the wealth of research focusing on college level chemistry and
visual spatial abilities, little research on visualization skills and achievement at


107
Roe, A. (1952). A psychologist examines 64 eminent scientists.
Scientific American. 187, 21-25.
Santmire, T. E. (1985). Review of Arlin test of formal reasoning. In J. V.
Mitchell (ed.). The ninth mental measurements yearbook (dd.81-
83). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Seddon, G. M., Enialyeju, P. A. & Josoh, I. (1984). The visualization of
rotation in diagrams of three-dimensional structures. American
Educational Research Journal. 21 (1). 25-38.
Sherman, J. (1980). Mathematics, spatial visualization and related
factors: Changes in boys & girls, grades 8-11. Journal of
Educational Psvcholoov. 72. 476-482.
Simpson, W. D. (1986). Understanding and misunderstandings of
biological students attending large hioh schools and students
attending small high schools. Unpublished master s thesis.
University of Oklahoma.
Stallings, J. A. (1979). A comparison of mens and women's behavior in
high school math classes. Paper presented at the American
Psychological Association, New York.
Thurstone, L. L. (1938). Primary mental abilities. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
Wheatley, G., & Yackel, E. (1990). Promoting visual imagery in young
pupils Arithematic Teacher. 37 (6). 52-58.
Yager, R. E. (1988). Relative success in college chemistry for students
who experience a high school course in chemistry and those who
have not. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 25(H) 387-
396
Yarroch, W. L. (1985). Student understanding of chemical equation
balancing. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 25 (51 449-
459


23
our observations are at the phenomenological level. When asked to draw
diagrams of the atoms and/or molecules and how they interact from a balanced
chemical equation most students are unable to do so (Yarroch, 1985). Gabel
and Schrader (1987) also found that students come out of chemistry classes
able to balance equations without understanding the reactions at the molecular
level. Hesse and Anderson (1992) found that in their study of student learning
of chemical change, only 1 student out of 11 was able to explain the
phenomenological level observed by utilizing the atomic-molecular
explanation.
As we move from the phenomenological to the atomic/molecular level of
chemistry, our thinking moves from the concrete to the abstract. The cognitive
developmental level of students in high school chemistry may range from a
concrete operational to a formal operational level of reasoning (Herron, 1990).
Comprehension of chemistry concepts may require a higher level of thinking;
thus, the student needs to be able to reason at a formal level.
In examining the three levels of chemistry instruction, the ability to
visualize is required more as one moves from the concrete (phenomenological)
to the abstract (atomic/molecular) level. The phenomenological level requires
students to have a visual memory of what occurs during the reaction. For
example, in adding a metal to an acid, students must remember that fizzing
occurred, the test tube got hot, and the metal disappeared or changed color.
The abstract level often requires students to be able to visualize the models that


TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS N
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Misconceptions 2
Visual Spatial Abilities 3
Formal Reasoning Ability 4
Purpose of the Study 5
Procedures 5
Research Questions 5
Research Hypotheses 6
Definition of Terms 7
Limitations of the Study 7
2 REVIEW OF RESEARCH 9
Overview 9
Visual Spatial Abilities 9
Visualization Skills 10
Reasoning Ability 14
Relationship between Formal Reasoning and Spatial
Visualization 15
Subject Matter and Visual Spatial Abilities 15
Historical Importance of Visualization in Science 16
Factors that Affect Chemistry Learning 17
Chemistry Instruction 21
Summary 24
3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION 25
Overview 25
Study Sample 25
Curriculum 26
iii


5 min
types of reaction. Pass the bags
around and have students feel
them. If possible use the new
sports heat and cool bags, students
can see the everyday applications
of this idea. Examples: NaOH
pellets in water for the exothermic
and baking soda and vinegar
for the endothermic.
B. Define and break the words
15 min
apart for comprehension.
C. Write word equations on board
with energy units, transcribe to
chemical equation.
Have students use
magnets/models to
represent the balanced
equation and put their
answers on the board.
D. Work several other examples
where energy is written into the
equation or H value is given.
Have students determine if
they are exothermic or
endothermic.
5 min
E. Review concepts covered.
F. Pass out pre-lab sheet for Lab
Homework: Worksheet #3 Balancing Equations with
energy terms
Day 5: Lab Heat of Reaction
5 min
Collect homework.
40 min
Check pre-lab sheet. Go over
safety and instructions.
Lab
15 min
Begin post lab discussion. Have
students go over first the qualitative
observations (i.e. solution got hot
or cold). Continue the
next day the rest of the postlab
discussion if needed.


44
part 2 uses a more visual means for students to explain the ideas. The results
are shown in Tables 4-6A and 4-6B.
The R2 of 0.23 indicates that approximately 23% of the variance in part 1
posttest scores is due to the AFTR scores and precontent scores.
Approximately 29% of the variance in part 2 posttest scores is due to the AFTR
(formal reasoning) scores and precontent scores. Both parts of the posttest are
significantly related to the formal reasoning test. The analysis of interactions
between formal reasoning and the type of instruction did not show any
significant relationships.
Table 4-6
Analysis of variance between Total posttest score. ATFR scores and pretest
scores.
Rsquare
0.28
Root Mean Square Error
9.14
Observations
111
Source DF
Sum of Squares
F Ratio
Prob>F
Atfr 1
3019.16
36.15
0.0000
Precont 1
450.34
5.39
0.0221
Table 4-6A
Analysis of variance between Part 1 posttest score and ATFR scores
Rsquare
Root Mean Square Error
Observations
0.23
6.63
111
Source DF
Sum of Squares
F Ratio
Prob>F
Aftr 1
1022.21
23.24
0.0000
Precont 1
333.73
7.59
0.0069


60
in the whole compound. Chemistry comprehension can be enhanced by having
better visualization skills. For example, if students are able to visualize the
atomic/molecular level of molecular motion, they can take this information and
better apply it to more complex ideas such as gas laws or solution chemistry.
Thirty-one percent of the variance in the posttest scores was due to visualization
skills.
An analysis was done to examine the effect of instruction on visualization
skill. A new variable was calculated from the three independent visualization
variables and was used to classify students as low/medium or high visualizers.
Students classified as low visual in both the control and experimental groups
had lower scores on the achievement test. This finding indicates that if
students do not have good visualization skills already, they will not have high
achievement regardless of the instruction. However, students with medium and
high levels of visualization skills had enhanced achievement on the content test
when instruction was visual.
4. Is there a difference in content performance related to the combined
effect of instructional method, reasoning ability, and visualization?
Analysis of the content performance as the dependent variable and
precontent scores, reasoning ability and visualization skills, as independent
variables, was done to examine this question. It was found that chemistry
achievement as measured by the post content test was significantly related to
the Formal Reasoning test scores, the Hidden Figures test scores and the
precontent test scores. It could not be significantly predicted by the Form Board
Test or the Card Rotation Test. When the method of instruction was included in
the analysis, again only the Hidden Figures and Formal Reasoning test scores
were significantly related to chemistry achievement.


Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Prob>F
Model
3
1172.37
391.79
7.51
0.0001
Error
102
5301.23
51.97
Total Error
105
6473.59
Form
1
514.87
9.91
0.0022
Hidden
1
307 49
5.92
0.0167
CardRot
1
17.73
0.34
0.5605
Table 1.
General Linear Model lor All Visualization Tests and Part 1 (Content! Achievement
Posttest
Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Prob>F
Model
3
607.53
202.51
14.54
0.0000
Error
102
1420 43
13.93
Total Error
105
2027.96
Form
1
113.22
8.13
0.0053
Hidden
1
303.67
21.81
0.0000
CardRot
1
27 46
1.97
0.1633
Table 2.
General Linear Model for All Visualization Tests and Part 2 (Visualization)
Achievement Posttest
101


105
Hill, D. M. (1971). A study of the relationship between performance on
spatial and allied perceptual tasks and on stereochemical tasks.
M.Ed. thesis. Monash University, Clayton Australia.
Holford, D B., & Kempa, R. B (1970). The effectiveness of stereoscopic
viewing in the learning of spatial relationships in structural
chemistry. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 7 (3). 265-
270.
Johnstone, A. H. (1993). The development of chemistry teaching,
Journal of Chemical Education. 70 (9), 701-705.
Kail, R. & Pellegrino, J. W. (1985). Human intelligence. New York: W.
H. Freeman & Co.
Lawson, A. E. (1978). The development and validation of a classroom
test of formal reasoning. Journal of Research in Science
Teaching, 15(1). 11-24.
Lawson, A. E., & Renner, J. W. (1975). Relationship of science subject
matter and developmental levels of learners. Journal of Research
in Science Teaching. 12. 347-358.
Lawson, A. E. & Thompson, L. (1988). Formal reasonign ability and
misconceptions concerning genetics and natural selection.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 25 (91. 773-746.
Litzkow, L. (1991). The relationship between levels of spatial ability, age,
sex and formal reasoning ability of a high school population.
(Doctoral dissertation, University of Florida, 1991). Dissertation
Abstract International. 53-02. A0391.
Marek, E. A. (1986). Understanding and misunderstandings of biology
concepts. The American Biology Teacher. 48 (1) 37-40.
McCormick, A. (1988). Visual/spatial thinking: An essential element of
elementary school science. Monograph of the Council for
Elementary Science International, 3.
McKim, R. H. (1980). Thinking visually: A strategy manual for problem
solving Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co.


39
Table 4-3
Treatment
Posttest Scores
Total
n
StdErr
Part 1
n
StdErr
Part 2
n
StdErr
Exp. Group
26.83
61
1.37
21.89
61
.98
4.95
61
.53
Control Group
22.61
54
1.46
19.91
54
1.04
2.70
54
.56
Significance
prob>|t| =
.0373
prob>|t| =
.1683
prob>|t| =
:.0044
The results of these tests indicate that Instruction using a visual technique
increased chemistry achievement on the topics of atoms, molecules, and
balancing equations. The scores on part 2 of the content posttest indicated that
the students in the visual instruction group had a greater understanding of the
abstract concepts of atoms and molecules and their role in the chemical
concept of conservation of mass.
Increased chemistry comprehension was further shown qualitatively in
interviews with randomly selected students after the unit was completed Two
students from each classroom were randomly chosen to participate in a
structured interview. They were interviewed individually. The interview protocol
appears in Appendix C. The students were asked to balance a chemical word
equation using the magnets. They were then asked to balance an equation
already written in chemical symbols. Finally, they were asked to demonstrate
the concept of conservation of mass on two already balanced chemical
equations again using the magnets. The students were asked to explain what
they were doing as they balanced the equations and to describe the particles
involved in the chemical equations.
Students from both the control and experimental classes could


64
and visualization skills. Approximately 25% of the variance in the chemistry
achievement test could be explained by the formal reasoning scores.
Because numerous concepts in chemistry are at the abstract level,
students at lower levels of reasoning often do not comprehend the concepts or
develop misconceptions. By measuring the formal reasoning levels of students
prior to instruction, the instructor can assist in student comprehension.
Instruction can provide concrete items for the student to use in bridging to the
abstract idea. Activities and lessons should be developed to move the student
from the concrete into the formal level of reasoning.
Visual spatial skills also affected the chemistry achievement. This
supports research by Barke (1993) who found that students who exhibited
greater visualization skills achieved higher scores on chemical structures.
These skills vary from visual observations to manipulation of 2-dimensional and
3-dimensional objects. Approximately 31% of the variance In the posttest score
could be explained by the scores on the spatial visualization test scores. It turns
out that for students who tested as strong on visualization skills, the treatment
helped.
Forty-one percent of the variance could be explained by the formal
reasoning and spatial visualization measures. The study indicates that these
are two key barriers to student achievement in chemistry. The final analysis
shows that the teacher was significantly related to chemistry achievment. The
posttest achievement scores for one teacher were signficantly higher than they
other two teachers. Even though a curriculum guide was provided, the teachers
may not have followed it exactly. This brings to mind the problems encountered
with the science curriculum projects in the 1970s. Most of these curriculum
projects were not successful due to lack of training and continuation of feedback


Sburce
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
836 7
836.7
15.90
Error
110
5787.58
52.61
Prob>F
Total Error
111
6624.28
0.0001
Table 1.
General Linear Model for the Form Board Test and Pari 1 Posttest Score
Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
530.01
530.01
941
Error
106
5968.99
56.31
Prob>F
Total Error
107
6499.00
0.0027
Table2.
General Linear Model for the Hidden Figures Test and Part 1 Posttest Score
Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
211074
211.74
3.61
Error
108
6339.03
58.70
Prob>F
Total Error
109
6550.77
0.0602
Table 3.
Linear Model for the Card Rotation Test and Part 1 Posttest Score
97


Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
293.71
293.71
18 17
Error
110
1777.72
16.16
Prob>F
Total Error
111
2071.43
0.0000
Table 1.
General Linear Model for the Form Board Test and Part 2 Posttest Score
Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
414.62
414.62
27.22
Error
106
1614.30
15.23
Prob>F
Total Error
107
2028.92
0.0000
Figure 2.
General Linear Model tor the Hidden Figures Test and Pari 2 Posttest Score
Source
DF
SS
Mean Square
F Ratio
Model
1
106.36
106.36
5.94
Error
108
1932.63
17.90
Prob>F
Total Error
109
2038.99
0.0164
Figure 3.
General Linear Model for the Card Rotation Test and Part 2 Posttest Score
99


5. To compare the experimental mass of a
product of a chemical reaction with the mass
predicted for that product by calculation.
6. To compare the theoretical mass of one of
the products of a double replacement reaction
with the experimentally determined mass of
the same product.
MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT
The following materials and equipment are needed
for instruction of this topic. Quantities are given for two
students per lab group.
EXPERIMENT EQUIPMENT MATERIALS
CONSERVATION OF MASS
LAB 9 Balances 1 M Na2C03
Erlenmeyer flask (125 ml 1 M CaCl2
Rubber stopper 1 M H2SO4
Graduated cylinders
test tubes (2)
Corks for test tubes
Safety goggles and apron
TYPES OF CHEMICAL REACTIONS
LAB 14 Burners
Crucible tongs
Spatula
test tubes (7)
Mossy Zinc
Copper Wire(10 cm)
Mg ribbon (5 cm)
CuC03
Test Tube Holder
Test Tube Rack
Wood splints
Fine sandpaper
Evaporating dish
Safety goggles and apron
6 M HCI
1 M CUSO4
0.1 MZn(C2H302)2
0.1 M Na3P04
1 M Na2S04


42
high formal level students. Even though each group was randomly assigned,
students were not evenly distributed in each formal reasoning level.
Table 4-4B
Total number of students in each reasoning level and per experimental and
control arouD
Low
Concrete
High
Concrete
Transitional
Low
Formal
High
Formal
Total number
of Students
5
43
23
15
7
Experimental
Group
4
21
12
10
7
Control Group
1
22
11
5
0
In the second analysis, the scores were treated as interval data and a
general linear model was run. The null hypothesis follows:
Ho: There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from
students formal reasoning skills.
The level of significance for rejecting the null hypothesis was alpha =
0.05. The Tukey-Kramer HSD test was used to compare the means on posttest
scores according to the ranking on the AFTR test. The test results appear in
Appendix E. Table 4-5 shows the mean results of post test scores according to
their placement in the AFTR group.
Results show that there was a significant difference in Part 1 of the
posttest content scores for the following groups: post test scores for Group 4
and 2 only. Part 2 of the content test shows a significant difference between the


CHAPTER 4
RESULTS
The purpose of this study was to examine how achievement in chemistry
is affected by instruction using visual modeling of atoms and molecules. Other
factors examined in the study were the effects of formal reasoning skills and
visualization skills on chemistry achievement. The students took a formal
reasoning test, three different visualization tests, and pre and post content tests.
The content test consisted of two parts, each part relating to the instructional
method used. There were two instructional methods used in teaching chemistry
concepts. The treatment method used a hands-on approach with three
dimensional models to represent the chemical concepts. For example, a model
of water would be £5 Traditional chemistry instruction uses chemical
symbols (e g., Na, NaOH) to represent the concepts presented. Water would
be represented by H2O, not the model above. Part one of the test had concept
questions using only the symbols. Part 2 had questions requiring visualization
and a visual means for conveying the knowledge.
Mediating variables in the study were the precontent test, a test of formal
reasoning, and three different visualization tests. Results of the analysis of
effects of these variables are presented in the next sections. The correlations
between all of the variables are given in Appendix D. The design of the study
appears in Figure 4-1.
36


REFERENCES
Arlin, P. K. (1982). A multitrait-multimethod validity study of a test of
formal reasoning. Educational and Psychological Measurement.
4& 1077-1088.
Arter, J. A., & Salmon, J. (1987). Assessing higher order thinking skills.
Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
Baker, S. R., & Talley, L. H. (1974). A study of the relationship of
visualization skills to achievement in freshman chemistry. Journal
of Chemical Education. 49. 775-777.
Barke, H. (1993). Chemical education and spatial ability. Journal of
Chemical Education. 70 (121. 968-971.
Ben-Chaim, D., Lappan, G. & Houang, R. T. (1988). The effect of
instruction on spatial visualization skills of middle school boys and
girls, American Educational Research Journal. 25 d T 51 -71.
Ben-2v¡, R., Eylong, B. R., & Silverstein, J. (1982). Students vs.
chemistry: A study of student conceptions of structure and
process. Paper presented at annual conference of National
Association of Research in Science Teaching. Fontana, Wl.
Ben-Zvi, R., Eylong, B. R., & Silverstein, J. (1986). Is an atom of copper
malleable? Journal of Chemical Education. 63 m. 64-66.
Bitner-Corven, B. (1989). Developmental patterns in logical reasoning
of students in grades six through ten: increments and plateaus.
Paper presented at annual conference of National Association of
Research in Science Teaching. San Francisco, CA.
Cantu, L. L, & Herron, J. D. (1978). Concrete and formal piagetian
stages and science concept attainment Journal of Research in
Science Teaching. 15. 135-143.
102


59
at the concrete level of reasoning rarely have success in traditional chemistry
instruction (Cantu & Herron, 1978,Lawson & Renner,1975). Further tests need
to be done to see which instructional type benefits these students the most.
The highest scores on the achievement posttest were obtained by the
students in the low formal reasoning group (Group 4). These students also had
the highest scores on each of the test parts. Achievement scores at each of the
extremes of the formal reasoning levels may not have been reliable, as the
sample sizes for these groups were small, which may explain why the
achievement in the high formal reasoning group was lower than the
achievement in low formal reasoning group. It also may explain why the low
concrete students had higher achievement scores on part 2 content of the
achievement test than the high formal reasoning group.
3. There was a significant relationship between each of the three spatial
visualization tests and content performance. However, in the analysis with all
three tests in the model only the Form Board Test and Hidden Figures Test were
significant. The Card Rotation Test was dropped from the model.
Each of the three visualization tests examined an important skill that is
used In chemistry. The Form Board Test measures a students ability to put
pieces together to make a whole. Three dimensional manipulation and rotation
of objects is a skill often used in making new chemical compounds. The Hidden
Figures Test examines a student's ability to disembed a shape from a more
complex shape. This skill is used in the medical field, during surgery, and in
chemistry research in developing designer drugs and developing antibodies for
viruses. In high school chemistry, students can look at a three dimensional
molecule and see what component parts make up the molecule. For example,
they may see a hydroxyl group attached or note three nitrate Ions are attached


81
4. The following equation shows the reaction that
occurs when nitroglycerine explodes.
4 C3H5O9N3 > 12C02 + 4 N2 + O2 + IOH2O +1725 kcal
This reaction is:
a. endothermic.
b. exothermic.
c. a combination reaction.
d. a combustion reaction.
5. In any chemical reaction, the quantities that are
conserved are:
a. the number of moles and the volumes.
b. the number of molecules and the volumes.
c. mass and the number of atoms.
d. mass and the number of moles.
6. If it were possible to drop 12 atoms of copper
into a beaker containing nitric acid, how many molecules
of NO would be produced? The chemical reaction for this
is:
3 Cu (g) + 8 HN03(aq) -> 3 Cu(N03>2(s) + 2 NO (g) + 4 H20 (I)
a. 2
b. 4
C. 8
d. 12
7. The new substances formed in a chemical reaction
are referred to as:
a. catalysts.
b. intermediates.
c. products.
d. reactants.


16
mathematics achievement as identified by Del Grande (1990) are identical to
the skills necessary for greater achievement and understanding in science.
In the area of physics, Peltzer (1988) found that physicists in colleges
and universities believe there are four general intellectual factors most
important to physics students. They are (a) ability to reason in terms of visual
images (visualization), (b) mathematics ability, (c) logic, (d) and problem
solving ability. In a study by Palland and Seeber (1984), visual spatial ability
was also found to be correlated to achievement in introductory college physics.
They examined three specific visual spatial skills: perception, orientation and
visualization. After weekly instruction in visual spatial methods, the treatment
group consisting of physics students had greater visual spatial skills. This
indicates visual spatial skills can be improved with an appropriate instructional
intervention.
Historical Importance of Visualization in Science
A specific skill used in all sciences is the ability to visualize models and
microorganelles. The ability to visualize is related to how well a person can see
or perceive distinct features of an observable object. For example, when a
student examines a microorganism under the microscope, he/she must be able
to pick out the identifying characteristics of that organism. If it is a paramecium,
he/she looks for an elongated slipper shape, central nucleus, and cilia.
Likewise, in chemistry, careful observations of macroscopic properties during a
chemical reaction are critical to success. Such examples would be the
observation of precipitation reactions, where the color and the amount of
precipitate are important to the identity and solubility of the chemical. Another
important example in chemistry is the ability to take a three-dimensional model
of a molecule and visualize how it would look from another viewpoint.


LD
1780
1995
Biiili
3 1262 08554 9o


50
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement. Visualization,
Formal Reasoning and Instructional Method
A test was conducted to examine the relationship between the posttest
scores of achievement and the independent variables of formal reasoning
score, form board test, hidden figures test, card rotation test, and precontent
score. The results show a significant relationship between the formal reasoning
test, hidden figure and precontent scores and the posttest content scores. The
form board test and the card rotation test did not show a significant relationship.
Thus, the precontent scores, formal reasoning scores, and hidden figures test
scores can be used to predict the posttest achievement scores. Table 4-11
below gives this information.
Table 4-11
Full Model Analysis for all Variables
Rsquare = .41
Source
DF
SS Mean Square
F Ratio
Prob>F
Model
5
4983.91
996.78
13.25
0.0000
Error
98
7296.52
75.22
Total Error
103
12280.43
Precontent
1
607.21
8.072
0.0055
Atfr
1
942.97
12.53
0.0006
Form
1
113.27
1.509
0.2227
Hidden
1
1120.31
14.89
0.0002
CardRot
1
51.72
0.688
0.4090
Based on the above data, the card rotation test and form board test were
dropped as factors and the analysis was run again both to check the
significance level and to look for any interactions. There were no significant
treatment interactions with the hidden figures test, precontent test and formal


21
concrete operational level, whereas understanding of the many abstract
concepts presented in chemistry requires a formal reasoning level.
Chemistry Instruction
Current research in chemistry instruction has identified the following
general characteristics of traditional chemistry instruction (Herron, 1990): (a)
Traditional chemistry instruction stresses facts and not concepts; (b) the
instruction does not tie together major concepts within the subject area or
between subject areas; (c) the laboratory activities are mainly verification
laboratories with few or no discovery laboratory activities; (d) process skills
and other skills that would benefit the understanding of students are not taught;
(e) teachers emphasize breadth and not depth, often trying to cover an entire
chemistry textbook in 1 year. These practices often lead to decreased
enrollments and dislike of chemistry at the high school and college levels and
are not instructional practices promoted as good chemistry instruction. Good
chemistry instruction would include practices that are opposite from the ones
stated above.
In good chemistry instruction, three levels of thinking should be
addressed: the phenomenological, the symbolic, and the atomic/molecular.
The phenomenological level looks at the physical and chemical properties of
elements and molecules at the macroscopic level. For example, when we place
a piece of copper in a silver nitrate solution, the following macroscopic changes
are observed: the copper wire becomes covered with a silver material. After a
period of time, the copper appears to have disappeared, and there are
numerous silver crystals where the copper was. The solution, which was
initially clear and colorless, is now beginning to turn slightly blue, and so on.


APPENDIX B
CONTENT TEST


72
10 min
Students should do the reaction
with models/magnets to reinforce
the reaction.
F Review the concepts.
Q. What is the difference between a word
equation and a chemical equation?
Q. What information can be derived from a
chemical equation?
Homework: Worksheet 1 (Transcription of word equations into chemical
equations and drawing of models to represent equations.) Read Lab 9 and
do Prelab sheet
Day 2: 5 min.
Collect homework.
Check pre-lab sheet.
30 min
Lab 9: Conservation of Mass
Students will perform lab 9 from
Prentice-Hall. They will work in
pairs to do the lab
10 min
Post lab discussion of
conservation of mass and how it
relates to writing equations.
10 min
Use models to show how the
conservation of mass law
applies to balancing
equations. Use this lab's
reaction for example.
Homework: Finish the Lab questions and calculations.
Have lab ready to turn in tomorrow.
Day 3: 5 min
Collect lab reports.
10 min
Review how Empirical data allows
us toBalance Chemical Equations -
Class discussion Question and
answer format
5 min
Introduction of rules relating to
balancing equations (p.148 in
Chemistry, Addison-Wesley)
Introduce terms such as coefficient,


12
structure of a compound relates to its reactivity and the function of specific
molecular groups within the compound. Other skills under this category include
taking a two dimensional object and converting it to a three dimensional model
or vice versa.
Visual reasoning Is similar to logical reasoning. In Inductive visual
reasoning the person is asked to induce how an abstract principle In sequential
images relates to a final image. Looking at sequential pictures of concrete
objects and predicting what the final picture would be is an example of this skill.
An artist uses deductive visual reasoning in taking an abstract idea and making
it into a concrete object representing the idea. An excellent example of this is
the artist Bev Doolittle, whose camouflage art has an underlying nature
conservation theme.
Visual synthesis is the highest step in the hierarchy. It involves the skills
of putting together parts of an object or idea to make a whole new and different
object or idea. For example, the developer of a new Invention uses this skill
when pulling together all that is known about the different aspects of the would-
be product. In the development of the television, the inventors used information
about electromagnetic waves, electrical circuitry, and the transmission/receiving
of electromagnetic waves. Without this type synthesis many of our everyday
products would not be present.
McCormick (1988) went a step further and developed a hierarchy of
visual-spatial skills. He divided these skills into four major categories: visual-
spatial perception, visual-spatial memory, logical visual-spatial thinking and
creative visual-spatial thinking. All of the operations that McKim (1980)
identified are subsets of McCormicks hierarchic model.


RELATING MOLES TO COEFFICIENTS OF A CHEMICAL
EQUATION
LAB 15 Balance CuS04
Burner Iron filings
Beakers (100 & 250 Ml)
Graduated cylinder
Ring stand and ring
Wire gauze
Glass stirring rod
Safety goggles and apron
MOLE AND MASS RELATIONSHIP
LAB 16 Balance 6 M HCI
Burner NaHC03
Evaporating Dish
Watch Glass
Spatula
Test Tube
Dropper pipette
Ring stand and ring
Wire gauze
Safety goggles and apron
MASS-MASS RELATIONSHIPS IN REACTIONS
LAB 17
Balance Zn(C2H302) *2H20
Graduated cylinder Na3P04"12H20
Beakers (250 ml) 2 Distilled water
Beaker (100 ml)
Stirring rod
Ring stand and ring
Funnel
Filter paper
Safety goggles and apron
HEAT OF REACTION
LAB 15
Balance NaOH (s)
Spatula 1.0 M NaOH
Thermometer 1.0 M HCI
Graduated cylinder 0.5 M HCI
Styrofoam cups Safety goggles and apron


26
requirements eliminate students with special learning disabilities from the study.
The socioeconomic make-up of the school systems involved include students
from low to high socioeconomic levels, with the majority of the students coming
from low- to middle-class families.
Three teachers were chosen to participate in this study on the basis of
their teaching experience and willingness to participate. Teacher A had 22
years of teaching experience; Teacher B had 16 years teaching experience;
and Teacher C had 16 years teaching experience. Beginning teachers were
not selected because of their lack of teaching experience and their lack of
familiarity with different teaching methods. The teachers in this study were two
males and one female.
Curriculum
The existing or the modified version of curriculum covered the important
and traditional topics of conservation of mass and balancing chemical
equations. It consisted of a 15-day curriculum covering the topics of
conservation of mass, types of chemical equations, balancing chemical
equations and laboratory applications for each of the topics. Each of the
teachers was instructed on the modified curriculum for a period of 2 hours by
the researcher. The curriculum was laid out with the content, worksheets, and
time line to be spent on each segment of the topic. Appendix A contains the
curriculum guide with the outline of the content topics and timeline. Both the
control and experimental groups covered the same chemistry content. The
difference between the two treatments lies in the use of visual models to
promote the comprehension of the abstract concept of atoms and molecules.
Validation of the content was done by sending the curriculum to a chemistry
professor long interested in curriculum and instructional issues, and asking for


38
experimental groups on the total pretest scores as well as for each part of the
test. Both groups showed equivalent prior knowledge on this topic. Also
Important to note Is that neither group was able to explain the abstract concept
of atoms and molecules, a topic that is Introduced and used for explanations
throughout chemistry. It Is also interesting to note that the concept of atoms and
molecules is introduced and explained in most chemistry textbooks in Chapter
2, whereas Conservation of Mass and Balancing Equations comes much later
in the curriculum. The students had been exposed to this concept previously.
A comparison of the two groups using a Tukey-Kramer HSD analysis
(alpha = 0.05) showed there was a significant difference in performance
between the control and experimental groups on part 2 (visual representations)
and total score on the post content test. There was no significant difference in
the part 1 (traditional content and algorithms) posttest scores between the
experimental and control groups. Tables 4-2 and 4-3 show the means and
numbers per group for scores on part 1, part 2 and total of both the pretest and
posttest.
Table 4-2
pts. = 35) and Part 2 Pretest Scores (Max, pts. = 15) bv Treatment
Pretest Scores
Total n StdErr
Part 1 n
StdErr
Part 2 n
StdErr
Exp. Group
5.51 64 .47
5.14 64
.41
0.38 64
.12
Control Group
6.13 63 48
5.75 63
.42
0.38 63
.12
Significance
prob>|t| = .3651
prob>|t| = .3051
prob>|t| =
.9718


14
The final level of the hierarchy is creative visual spatial thinking where all
of the above segments are utilized together to synthesize something new. In
chemistry, an application of this phenomenon occurs when scientists construct
new models and/or new compounds based on data they have collected.
Biological research on virus structures and reactions also relies heavily on the
synthesizing ability of the researchers. Currently, the use of the microcomputer
and three dimensional imaging programs has allowed research to progress at a
much faster rate. Researchers can see the molecule depicted on the screen,
rotate it, and look for areas where an antibody can be inserted to turn off the
replication of that virus.
Reasoning Ability
There is a large data base of research on reasoning as a part of general
intelligence (Piaget, 1960; Thurstone, 1938). Thurstone (1938) identified
reasoning as an important factor and included it in his tests. These tests
consisted of problems that would identify some sector of reasoning: for
example, geometric puzzles, analogies, and series tests. Through this
research, two major components of reasoning were identified: a deductive
factor and an inductive factor. Deductive reasoning progresses from the
general concepts to the specific, and inductive reasoning progresses from the
specific concepts to the general.
Piaget, in his study of the developmental growth of children, used
reasoning tasks to formally evaluate children. Other researchers have
expanded his work (Arlin, 1982; Lawson, 1978; Raven, 1973) with paper and
pencil tests. With these tests, the researcher can classify a student's
performance into different levels of reasoning ability.


29.The compound and element in Box A react to
form a different element and one new compound.
Draw what happened in the reaction in Box B.
Write a balanced equation for the reaction.
Box A Box B
Equation:
Chemical substances react in definite proportions
by mass. On the molecular level, atoms react with
one another resulting in different combinations of
atoms in which particles and mass are consumed.
30.In reality, many molecules of water
decompose, not only the two shown in the balanced
equation. Show how 10 water molecules in the
liquid state decompose to form gaseous hydrogen
and oxygen using pictures. Let £3 equal water
molecules.
31.Solid carbon burns in oxygen gas to form
carbon dioxide gas. Start with 10 carbon atoms,
and use pictures to show the complete reaction.
Let equal carbon and O equal oxygen atoms.


CHAPTER 5
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
Chapter 5 is divided into four main sections. The first section reviews the
objectives of the study. The second section summarizes the results from
Chapter 4. The third section discusses the conclusions from these results and
the fourth section examines the Implications for future research and how these
implications could affect curriculum and instruction.
Review of the Study
This study examined the effect of instruction using visual modeling of
atoms and molecules on achievement in chemistry. Other factors examined in
the study were the effects of formal reasoning skills and visualization skills on
chemistry achievement. The students took a formal reasoning test, three
different visualization tests, and pre- and post-content tests. The content test
consisted of two parts, each part relating to the instructional method used. The
treatment method used a hands-on approach with three dimensional models to
represent the chemical concepts. For example, a model of water would be £5
Traditional chemistry instruction uses chemical symbols, (e.g., Na, NaOH) to
represent the concepts presented. Water would be represented by H2O, not
the model above. Part one of the test had concept questions using only
symbols. Part 2 had questions requiring visualization and a visual means for
conveying the knowledge. Mediating variables in the study were the
precontent test, a test of formal reasoning, and three different visualization tests.
53


48
Table 4-10
General Linear Model for the Whole Model and Posttest Score
RSquare =
0.26
Source
DF
SS
Mean Square F Ratio
Prob>F
Model
3
3401.00
113.67
11.88
0.0000
Error
102
9731.84
95.41
Total Error
105
13132.84
Form
1
1110.97
11.64
0.0009
Hidden
1
1222.32
12.81
0.0005
CardRot
1
89.32
0.936
0.3356
The posttest content test was then divided into its subsections (Parts 1
and 2) and both individual tests and whole model tests for both parts were run.
Test results for part 1 of the posttest (content) were from tables in Appendix G:
Hidden Prob>F = 0.0027, Form Board Test Prob>F = 0.0001; CardRot -
Prob>F = 0.0602. The whole model prob>F = 0.001. Test results for part 2 of
the posttest(visualization) were from tables in Appendix H: Hidden -Prob>F =
0.0000, Form Board Test Prob>F = 0.0000; CardRot Prob>F = 0.0164.
Whole model prob>F = 0.0000. Again, there was a significant relationship
between each individual test and the posttest subsections.
Appendix I shows the data analysis using the general linear model for all
visualization tests and part 1 and part 2 of the posttest. Again for each
individual part both the Hidden Figures and Form Board tests were significantly
related. The Card Rotation test was not.
If visualization and formal reasoning affect chemistry achievement, then
the treatment emphasis on visual representation should give higher post test
scores. Analyses of the interaction of group and each Individual


INSTRUCTIONAL CURRICULUM
71
Day 1 10 min I. Introduction to chemical reactions
A. Demonstration: Burning of Magnesium
(Remind students not to look directly at the burning
magnesium.)
Have students take observations and go
over them.
Reinforce definition of chemical
reaction/chemical change.
B Write word equation of reaction on
board. (Magnesium reacts with oxygen to produce
magnesium oxide.)
Ask students what information you can
get from word equations. (Limit to information can
get more Information from equation written in
symbols.)
C. Write symbols of reaction on board.
(Mg(s) +02(g) -MgO(s) )
10 min 'Introduce terms and symbols used in
writing equations.
(Example: s, I, g, +, = reactants,
products, etc.)
Reinforce a chemical reaction is a
chemical change where there is a change in
properties and arrangement of atoms.
D. Atomic Models
Use models/magnets to represent
equation either on the board or
overhead. Have students use their
magnets to do the same.
Remind students the magnets are
just a visual tool/model to help us
understand what is going on in a
reaction. Each magnet represents an
atom.
15 min E. Example 2: Demonstration -
Electrolysis of water
Have students take observations and
discuss.
Write the word equation on the board.
( Water decomposes into oxygen and
hydrogen.)
Have the students transcribe the word
equation into a symbolic equation.


Homework: Finish Lab report for Day 8.
Day 6: Topic-
- Types of Reactions
10 min
Finish post lab discussion for the
previous lab. Answer any
questions student may
have about the lab report.
5 min
Introduction to types of reaction:
Ask students for some examples of
material that has used the process
skill of classification before.
(Student answers).
Tell them that chemists classify
reactions into different types
depending on types of starting
reactants and ending products.
This is another tool to help them
understand about reactions, etc.
30 min
Describe the first two types of
reactions (synthesis and
decomposition) using the
following procedure.
a. Show an example on the
video/videodisk or do a
demonstration.
b. Ask students about their
observations.
c. Give the definition using an
example (if possible the one on
the video/videodisk)
Write the word equation for the
reaction:
EXAMPLE: Sulfur reacts with
oxygen to yield sulfur dioxide.
Have the students transcribe into
the symbolic equation: EXAMPLE:
S + 02->SC>2
Have the students use
models/magnets to represent
the reaction atomically and
molecularly.


41
underlying hypothesis Is that it takes multiple examples for student
comprehension. Therefore, their textbook may introduce a topic in one chapter
and several chapters after that will have applications using this concept to
reinforce student learning. Evaluation of this process and textbook is ongoing.
Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement and Formal Reasoning
In order to examine the relationship between chemistry achievement and
formal reasoning, two analyses were done, using the total group of subjects to
determine whether formal reasoning (ATFR score) affected chemistry
achievement. First, the scores of each student were transformed into an ordinal
scale Indicating their level of performance: concrete, high concrete, transitional,
low formal and high formal. Tables 4-4A and 4-4B show the number of students
in each group, the scoring scales, and codes for this information.
Table 4-4A
Level of Formal Reasoning. ATFR Scores and Resulting Codes
Level of Performance
ATFR Score
Code
Concrete
0-7
1
High Concrete
7-14
2
Transitional
15-17
3
Low Formal
18-24
4
High Formal
24-32
5
The breakdown of the number of students in each of the five different
levels (concrete to formal) is given in the Table 4-4B. Both the experimental
and control groups had a similar distribution of students in the high concrete
and transitional level. However at the extremes of the formal reasoning scale,
the experimental group had a greater number of low concrete, low formal and


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RESEARCH
Overview
This chapter summarizes research on the following topics: (a) visual
spatial abilities, (b) formal reasoning ability, (c) the relationship between formal
reasoning and visual spatial abilities, (d) the learning of chemistry, and (e)
chemistry instruction. Each of these topics is important to the understanding of
factors influencing chemistry achievement.
Visual Spatial Abilities
Historically, research on visual spatial abilities has been of Interest to
researchers since the early 1900s. Areas such as architecture, art, psychology,
math, engineering and the military were the initial forces behind this research.
Within the last 20 years, the visual spatial abilities needed in science have
been included in this research base .
Thurstone (1938) identified spatial ability as a major and separate factor
of intelligence. Initially this factor was called spatial relations, however, on
further study he separated this factor into two components: spatial relations
and spatial visualization. Spatial relations is defined as being able to identify a
figure when looking at it from a different perspective. Spatial visualization is a
more complex factor and is defined as the ability to rotate multiple parts of a
whole figure. Thurstone developed several spatial tests, Cards" and Cubes"
being two of many. The Form Board test was used by Thurstone to measure
spatial visualization.
9


76
15 min
d. Give the general equation for
the reaction.
R + S RS
e. Do 2-3 other examples:
Teacher does it
microscale/demo and students
write reactions.
Experimental group also uses
magnets for models.
Review the above concepts with
the students.
Day 7: Continuation of Types of Reactions
5 min
Collect lab reports.
5 min
Review concepts covered
yesterday.
30 min
Introduction of the next two types of
reaction (single and double
replacement reactions). Follow the
same procedure from the day
before:
a. Example
b. Definition
c. Writing the equation.
Do with magnets.
Experimental group
only.
d. Give general equation
e. Do 2-3 microexamples as
demo/student
activities.
15 min
Pass out worksheet for homework
due in two days. Students should
begin and teacher assist them if
they have any questions. Pass out
prelab worksheet for Lab: Types of
Chemical Reaction.


27
evaluation. Dr. Robert Bernoff, University of Pennsylvania, checked the
curriculum guide for content correctness and instructional techniques. Two
local high school chemistry instructors also examined the curriculum for
continuity and correctness by comparing it to textbook presentations of the
material.
Evaluation Instruments
Students were evaluated to determine their visual spatial ability, formal
reasoning ability, and prior chemistry knowledge. Three Independent
measures representing different aspects of visual spatial ability were
administered using three different paper and pencil tests. A paper and pencil
test was used to determine formal reasoning ability and chemistry knowledge.
A description of each of these tests follows.
Visual Spatial Tests
Card Rotation Test
The Card Rotation Test is a commonly used test for visual spatial ability.
It was designed by Thurstone (1938) while he was Investigating primary mental
abilities. It was included in the Kit of Factor-Referenced Cognitive Tests
(Ekstrom, French, Harman, & Derman. 1976). The Kit was initially developed by
French (1954) then revised by French, Ekstrom, and Price (1963). The spatial
orientation and spatial visualization factors from this Kit were areas of interest in
this investigation.
The purpose of the Card Rotation test is to measure a student's ability to
recognize difference, when the figure's orientation is changed. The test
measures a student's ability to mentally rotate an image in order to check for
similarities.
The test contains 14 problems. Each problem has a shape followed by


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This study could not have been conducted without the guidance and
support of many people. First, I would like to express my gratitude to the chair of
my committee, Dr. Mary Budd Rowe. She has provided much support and
motivation. I would especially like to thank my co-chair, Dr. Linda Cronin-Jones,
for her suggestions and support throughout the writing and rewriting of my
dissertation.
Thanks are also extended to Dr. Bob Bernoff for examining the content
material of my dissertation and providing assistance. Thanks also go to Dr.
Paul Becht for his valuable input. I would also like to thank the chemistry
teachers who allowed the study to take place in their classrooms. Their
willingness to experiment and their dedication to improving chemistry
instruction are inspiring.
I especially wish to thank my mother, Donna Trexler, for her constant
encouragement and loving guidance. She started me on the road to learning
years ago by her support and she has been an inspiration to me for years.
Finally, I am indebted to my husband, Colen, for his patience and
encouragement throughout this research. He has provided both emotional and
physical support for this study and I could not have done it without his help and
love. He allowed me to make this research a priority in our lives.
ii


37
Chemistrv Instruction
Mediatina Variables
Code
Outcome
Treatment & Control
test &
Precontent test
Precon
Postcontent
Groups
Interviews
Formal reasoning test
ATFR
Selected
Card Rotation test
Form Board test
Hidden Figure test
Card
Form
Hidden
(Postcon)
Figure 4-1. Layout of the Study
The Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement and Instruction
The first analysis assessed the relationship between achievement and
instruction in chemistry. The conceptual hypothesis stated that the post test
achievement test for the experimental group would be greater than for the
control group. The instruction with the control group was modeled after the
traditional chemistry instruction. Concepts were developed using only chemical
symbols and words. Laboratory activities were done to verify these concepts.
The experimental group differed in that an emphasis was placed on three-
dimensional modeling depicting the underlying atomic/molecular structure.
Students manipulated models for both the laboratory and conceptual
components of the curriculum. The question of whether treatment affected
achievement was evaluated using a t-test on both control and experimental
group results.
To determine whether treatment and control groups were equivalent on
prior knowledge, a precontent test was administered prior to treatment. The test
had two parts and an analysis was done for total scores as well as each
individual part. Analysis of a t-test (alpha = 0.05) of precontent scores indicated
there was no significant difference between the control and


66
year period. Most of the research has taken place at the college level, with little
emphasis on high school students. The type of instruction necessary for higher
achievement in chemistry has only been examined for a few topics. All of these
factors gives rise to a real need for more collaborative research on the
questions stated earlier in chapter 2.


32
11; and formal operational, from age 11 on through adulthood. These time
frames are to be used only as a guide and are not absolute. Examining high
school students shows that all stages of development may be present in a given
sample.
The Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning is a 32-item test. The questions are
in a multiple-choice format. Test items use math and science concepts as a
base for the questions. The test is untimed, taking approximately 30-45
minutes. The test assesses the students according to one of five different
cognitive levels: low concrete, high concrete, transitional, low formal and high
formal. Studies (Arter & Salmon, 1987; Fakouri, 1985; Santmire, 1985) have
shown the instrument to be valid and reliable for assessing the reasoning ability
of groups.
Data Collection
Data were collected in the following manner. On day 1, the Pretest for
Chemistry content and the Card Rotation test were given by all three teachers.
On day 2, the Hidden Figures test and the Form Board test were administered.
The Formal Reasoning Test was given on day 3. All tests were given in this
same order to limit any internal validity threat. The Chemistry content test was
given first. Otherwise, practice with visual models in the visualization tests
might have confounded the content results.
Each teacher read the test instructions to the students. The teachers
went through a sample problem with the students and answered any questions
prior to administering the tests. None of the tests were timed.
Day 4 began the two-week instructional package. The teachers followed
the curriculum guide daily. Each teacher kept notes and comments during the
instructional period. Journal entries covered time schedules, problems


Csl + Na
85
26.Nal + Cs -*
Part V: 10 points total
Directions : Read the explanation for each
of the following and draw the particles
indicated.
Particles interact with one another in chemical
reactions. The coefficients in a balanced equation
show the lowest number of atoms and molecules
that react with one another leaving no particles
left over.
27.The balanced equation for the decomposition of
water is:
2 H20 2 Hz + 02
Show how the reaction would look using the
following symbols. Let 0 stand for oxygen atoms
and for hydrogen atoms. Draw the
atoms/molecules for the reaction using 0 and .
Example = H2O is 0 Describe the reaction in
terms of atoms and molecules.
28.The balanced equation for the reaction of
phosphorus and oxygen is:
2 P4 + 5 O2 > 2 P4O5
Show how the reaction would look in terms of
using 0 for phosphorus atoms and @ for oxygen
atoms. Describe the reaction in terms of atoms
and molecules.


7
Definition of Terms
Terms have many meanings even within a specific discipline. Therefore,
it is necessary to define specifically the meanings of the various terms used in
this study.
Spatial orientation describes the ability to mentally rotate an object in
order to see If two objects are identical. In this procedure, the orientation of the
observer Is Important to the frame of reference.
Spatial visualization describes the ability to rotate several pieces of a
figure and identify if the pieces make the correct pattern.
Visual spatial ability is the ability to mentally manipulate visual objects
involving a sequence of movements.
Formal operational reasoning is the final stage of Piagets theory of
cognitive development. This occurs approximately after the age of 11 years and
is characterized by the student's ability to reason and draw conclusions based
on experiences. Students can think abstractly without the use of concrete
objects.
Concrete operational reasoning is the middle stage of Piaget's theory of
cognitive development. This occurs between the ages of 7 and 11 is
characterized by the students ability to conserve mass in chemical
transformations. Students need concrete objects in order to understand and
apply the concepts.
Limitations of the Study
The following limitations are a part of the investigation.
1 Generalizations cannot be made for any classes other than the
chemistry classes in this study as the study uses a quasi-experimental design
with intact chemistry classes.


APPENDIX A
CURRICULUM GUIDE


THE EFFECTS OF FORMAL REASONING
ABILITY, SPATIAL ABILITY, AND TYPE OF
INSTRUCTION ON CHEMISTRY ACHIEVEMENT
By
CYNTHIA TREXLER HOLLAND
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1995
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LIBRARIES



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Table 1.
Correlation coefficients
91


51
reasoning score. The R Square for the model without the Card Rotation test
and Form Board test scores was 0. 39 indicating that the two variables dropped
from the analysis were not providing much variance to the full model. In
summary, formal reasoning and one type of visualization skill as measured by
the Hidden Figures test are significantly related to the posttest content test on
the topic of balancing of equations and conservation of mass.
A final ANCOVA was run to analyze the effect of precontent, teacher,
hidden figure score, formal reasoning score, and group on the posttest content
score. Both formal reasoning and precontent scores were significantly related
to achievement. Neither visualization nor type of instruction, as indicated by the
hidden figure score, was found to be significant in this analysis. The chemistry
achievement scores for one teacher was significantly higher than the other two
teachers. These results may indicate that the teachers either did not completely
follow the curriculum guide as they stated or they maintained their teaching
styles despite the desire to change.
Summary
The following null hypotheses stated in this study regarding the
relationship between chemistry achievement and type of instruction, formal
reasoning skills, and visualization skills were rejected:
1. There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from
different instructional methods.
2. There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from their
visualization skills.
3. There is no significant difference in achievement resulting from the
students reasoning ability.


45
Table 4-6B
The relationship between Part 2 posttest score and ATFR scores
Rsquare
Root Mean Square Error
Observations
0.29
3.67
111
Source DF
Sum of Squares
F Ratio
Prob>F
Atfr 1
527.83
38.51
0.0000
Precont 1
8.71
0.63
0.4269
Relationship Between Chemistry Achievement and Visualization Skills
In the study, an attempt was made to examine whether particular
visualization skills were important in chemistry achievement and specifically if
treatment favored one of these. A review of each of these tests and how they
relate to chemistry follows. One skill as measured by the Card Rotation test is
the ability to rotate objects mentally. In chemistry this skill is necessary when
discussing such topics as molecules, their three dimensional structure, and
bonding orientation. Students need to visualize the three dimensional
geometry in order to understand how reactions may occur.
A second skill, Hidden Figure identification, was also assessed. In this
test students are required to find a shape embedded in a figure. In chemistry,
this is useful in the area of medical research, where imaging of molecules and
parts of molecules is necessary for developing antibodies. In high school
chemistry, it is important in identifying the various polyatomic ions that make up
a particular compound. Identification of these ions allows a student to better
understand solubilities.
The third skill measured by the Form Board test, requires students to take
parts of a shape and put them together to make a whole object. Here


22
Observation skills are very important for understanding at this level. All students
should be able to perceive the same reaction.
At the symbolic level, instruction involves using symbols to represent the
observations taken earlier. Suppose a chemistry instructor writes on the board
the following equation: Cu + AgN03 > Ag + CuN03. The reaction is
described as a single replacement reaction where the copper atoms and silver
ions exchange places to form two new substances. At the final
atomic/molecular level, a description of the reaction would include the
explanation of the reactivity of silver and copper atoms, the importance of the
ionic species in the reaction, and the conservation of atoms in a reaction. It is at
this level that we use numerous models to explain the observations at the
sensory level.
The relative emphasis placed on a particular level of thinking depends
upon the individual chemistry instructors and how they were taught chemistry.
Chemistry teachers often teach a given concept exclusively at one level. The
other levels of instruction are often omitted, or if they are included, the
relationship between the concrete and abstract ideasis not explained. For
example, traditionally, in the topic of balancing equations the emphasis is on
the symbolic level. Little or no attempt is made to merge the three levels of
instruction for students (Johnstone, 1993). As a result, students fail to see and
understand that the reaction is a collection of particles and this collection is
what gives us the characteristic properties we use to describe what is going on--


APPENDIX D
CORRELATIONS


2
As a result of this alarming trend, important research relating to chemistry
learning and instruction is currently being done (Yager, 1989). Teachers must
understand how students learn and make sense of chemistry concepts. They
must examine carefully the gaps that exist between the knowledge presented
and knowledge gained Attempts to understand the issues underlying
disappointing chemistry enrollments and achievement have resulted in a focus
on the following research questions.
1. How is chemistry being taught today?
2. How can we improve the teaching of chemistry?
3. What teaching approach is best for certain chemistry topics?
4. How are teaching theory and practice related?
5. How do students learn the facts, concepts, etc. that make up
chemistry?
6. What barriers limit students from achieving in chemistry?
7. How can chemistry be made more relevant to students' lives?
8. How do teachers motivate students in chemistry?
9. How are chemistry, technology, and society related?
10. How should we assess students in chemistry?
Although each question is important, this study focuses on the general
questions of three, five, and six. These three questions were selected based on
the research described below. This research examines the impacts of
chemistry students misconceptions, visual spatial ability, and formal reasoning
ability on chemistry achievement.
Misconceptions
Studies of high school student comprehension of chemical concepts
have shown that students still exhibit misunderstanding and have trouble


104
Gabel, D. L. Samuel, K. U., & Hunn, D. (1987). Understanding the
particulate nature of matter. Journal of Chemical Education. 64
(8), 695-697.
Gabel. D. L., & Schrader, C. (1987). The states of matter: A model that
makes sense Science and Children 26 (5). 20-21.
Gardener. M. H. (1988). The future. In D. J. Waddington (Ed.). Teaching
school chemistry, (p. 346). Paris. France: UNESCO.
Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. New
York: Basic Books.
George. S. C. S Fensham, P. J. (1973). Learning structural concepts of
simple alcohols. Education in Chemistry. 10 ML 24-26.
Griffiths, A. K., & Preston, K. R. (1992). Grade 12 students
misconceptions relating to fundamental characteristics of atoms
and molecules, Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 29 (11),
611-628.
Guilford, J. P., & Lacey, J. I. (1947). Printed classification tests fArmv Air
Force Aviation Psychology Program Research Report, No. 5).
Washington: U. S. Governement Printing Office.
Haidar, A., & Abraham, M. (1991). A comparison of applied and
theoretical knowledge of concepts based on the particulate nature
of matter. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 28 (10L 919-
938.
Hakstain, A. R., & Cattell, R. B. (1974). The checking of primary ability
structure on a broader basis of performance. The British Journal
of Educational Psychology 44. 140-154.
Herron, J. D. (1990). Research in chemical education: Results and
directions. In M. Gardener & J. Greeno (Eds.) Toward a scientific
practice of science education, p. 30-54, Hillsdale, NJ: Er Ibaum
Associates.
Hesse, J. J., & Anderson, C. W. (1992). Students conceptions of
chemical change. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 29
(3). 277-299.


4
Instruction in chemistry relies heavily on two and three-dimensional models
describing concepts. The level of spatial ability a student has plays an
Important role In the success of his understanding these abstract concepts.
Formal Reasoning Ability
Lawson and Renner (1975) Identified two concept categories: concrete
and formal. They found that formal concepts could not be learned by concrete
operational students. These findings were corroborated by Cantu and Herron
(1978) in their study of chemistry students. Marek (1986) and Simpson (1986)
also found that concrete operational students could not understand formal
concepts. Lawson and Thompson (1988) stated that concrete operational
students also have trouble distinguishing between a correct concept and a
misconception If the concept is at a formal level. Research has shown that the
majority of students in chemistry are at the concrete operational level, whereas
understanding of the abstract concepts covered in high school chemistry
classes often requires formal reasoning.
The use of computers and video technology In the classroom has
renewed interest in visual spatial aptitudes, the relationship between visual
spatial aptitudes and formal reasoning, and the use of visual models for
instruction. A large base of research shows that there is a relationship between
reasoning ability and visual spatial aptitudes (Kail & Pellegrino, 1985; Litzkow,
1991). Litzkow (1991) found a curvilinear relationship between formal
reasoning ability and performance on the Card Rotation Test and the Form
Board Test. The Card Rotation Test and Form Board Test are two standard
visual spatial ability tests for spatial orientation and spatial visualization.


11
visual recall, rotations, orthographic imagination, visual reasoning, and visual
synthesis.
Pattern seeking is the ability to find a pattern within an image or dis-
embed an image from distracting surroundings. One example is to look at
several chemicals according to their luster. By arranging them in order of
decreasing shininess, one can see the elements are arranged from left to right
on the periodic table. In biology,a student observing microorganisms under a
microscope must dis-embed a particular part of the organism from the rest of the
organism. In the medical profession, this skill is critical during surgery when
doctors must be able to find particular organs as they are surrounded by tissues
and other organs.
Visual recall is used when students are asked to examine a picture,
graph, or object and later recall it from memory. All the sciences use visual
images to convey the relationship between variables in an experiment. Some
common examples are the H-R diagram in astronomy, the
Pressure/Volume/Temperature graphs in chemistry, and the Krebs cycle and
cell structure in biology. Each of these charts or diagrams present information
clearly and concisely, whereas the verbal description sometimes takes several
pages to do the same. As a result, teachers use these diagrams in science and
ask students to recall the information from them.
Rotations involve changing the orientation of an image along any plane
or axis. In organic chemistry, the skill of rotation is required for the identification
of stereoisomers. Biochemists use this skill when examining viruses in order to
determine the active spot on the virus coating.
Looking at an object from another perspective falls under the category of
orthographic imagination. This skill is critical for examining how the molecular


34
County in the spring of 1993. The students completed all three visualization
tests and were given the content test. They were also instructed using the
curriculum guide. This was done to validate the curriculum package and to
examine the difficulty level of the visualization tests. The pilot study showed that
the students in the experimental group had a greater understanding of how
atoms and molecules interact and, after using the manipulatives for a period of
time, became very proficient in discussing chemical reactions in terms of atoms
and molecules. The pilot study provided justification for further investigation
using a larger sample.
Data Analysis
The SAS general linear model was the statistical procedure used in this
investigation. Use of this model allows the examination of several independent
variables to determine if differences in posttest content scores are due to prior
visualization skills, reasoning ability, or treatment effect.
The three visualization scores (Card Rotation, Form Boards and Hidden
Figures) were treated as interval scores as were the content tests. The formal
reasoning test was considered a continuous score. This procedure allowed the
following questions to be answered:
1 Is the difference in content performance related to instructional
method?
2. Is the difference in content performance related to visualization ability?
3. Is the difference in content performance related to reasoning ability?
4 is the difference in content performance related to the combined effect
of visualization, instructional method or reasoning ability?


APPENDIX E
ANALYSIS OF PART 1 & 2 POSTTEST
& ATFR CODE


20
the high school level has been conducted. Also, little research has been done
to examine the effectiveness of instructional strategies that use visualization
skills in the high school chemistry courses. With these factors In mind, a study
focusing on what contributions visualization skills make toward learning of
chemistry concepts at the high school level seemed appropriate.
Chemistry learning Is also tied to the formal reasoning abilities of
students. In an analysis of scientific concepts, Lawson and Renner (1975)
Identified two major concept categories: concrete and formal. Concrete
concepts are learned from direct experience, and formal concepts require the
students to go beyond their experiences and draw conclusions based on logic
and Inferences. Lawson and Renner found that formal concepts could not be
learned by concrete operational students. These findings were corroborated by
Cantu and Herron (1978) In their study of chemistry students. Marek (1986)
and Simpson (1986) also found that concrete operational students could not
understand formal concepts. Lawson and Thompson (1988) stated that
concrete operational students also have trouble distinguishing between a
correct concept and a misconception if the concept is at a formal level. Bltner-
Corven (1989) found that for grades 6 through 10 there was little evidence of
formal operational reasoning. Haidar and Abraham (1991) found that In a study
of the particulate nature of matter, the majority of the 11th grade students were
classified as low formal operational. Their research found a significant
correlation between students' reasoning ability and scores on concept
comprehension tests. Gabel, Samuel, and Hunn (1987) found that 22.8% of
the variance in their study was accounted for by students' reasoning ability.
Research has shown that the majority of students in chemistry are at the


APPENDIX F
ANALYSIS OF TOTAL POSTTEST & ATFR CODE


30
The test consists of 16 complex patterns. Beside each pattern five simple
shapes are drawn. The student must identify which of the five simple shapes
are a part of the complex pattern. Figure 3-3 below shows a sample from this
test.
/
c
(7V^^
A B C D E
/ / -
Figure 3-3. Sample Flidden Figure Problem
This test was chosen because of its similarity to the skill scientists must
use when looking for components in a large molecule that are the basis for
chemical interactions. This relates to the structure/function issue in chemistry.
Content Test
The content test was developed according to educational evaluation
guidelines. Initially, the times need to cover each content topic were tallied.
The percentage of time spent per topic was derived from this information. For
example, a total of 120 minutes of 700 total instructional minutes was spent on
visualization or modeling of the concepts. Thus, 17% of instructional time was
spent on visualization. For a 50- question test, 17%, or nine questions,
consisted of visualization items. This method was used for all topics covered in
the curriculum. The corresponding numbers of tests items were then written for
each topic. A 50 item test was chosen due to the limitation of available class
time. Presently, most class periods run between 50 and 55 minutes.
The content test was further validated by sending it to an expert in the
field for review Dr. Robert Bernoff, Chemistry Education Professor, University


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Cynthia Trexler Holland was born in Peru, Indiana, on August 2, 1948.
She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1972
with a major in chemistry. She returned to Purdue and added a science
education major to her degree in 1973. In 1981 she earned a Master of
Science degree in Science Education from Purdue University. She taught in
Indiana for twelve years before moving to Florida in 1986. She began teaching
in Alachua County and is presently employed by the Alachua County School
Board as a chemistry teacher at Newberry High School.
108


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Chemistry touches all facets of our lives. M .H. Gardener writes in
Teaching School Chemistry:
Since chemistry touches the lives of every individual,
(through agriculture, industry, nutrition, medicine, the
home environment, etc.) an individual's every moment,
awake or asleep, at work or at play, as a youth or adult
is directly influenced by the understanding and therefore
the utilization he or she can make of chemistry. Scientific
discoveries, technological advances, the efficiency of
the work force, the exercising of citizen's rights and the
quality of life are directly tied to the teaching of chemistry, (p.346)
Despite the acknowledgement of the importance of chemistry, the
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP.1988) report shows that
fewer students are taking high school and college chemistry classes. Only 37%
of the high school students surveyed had completed a year of chemistry. Sixty-
three percent surveyed had taken only half a year of chemistry. In the 1987
High School Transcript Study, 45% of the students surveyed had taken a
chemistry course, whereas 90% had completed a biology course.
Approximately twice as many students take biology as take chemistry, and
about half of those taking chemistry do not complete the year. The NAEP
Report (1988) also shows that achievement in high school chemistry is
mediocre. This trend has changed little in the last 10 years. The report, A
Nation At Risk (NCCE, 1983 ) reinforces the fact that science achievement in the
United States is below standard when compared to other countries, with the
U S. often ranking last.
1


40
successfully balance the equations when they were already given in symbolic
chemical form. All but one student could do this, Indicating that they had
learned the algorithm for balancing equations. That is, they balanced the
equation using the symbols and count for equal numbers on both side.
However, when asked to write a balanced equation from word form, the
students could not always do it. They were confused about how to write
particular elements and compounds. For example, iron(lll) oxide was written as
Fe3C>2 or FeO, but not Fe2C>3, the correct formula. If students do not
understand how charges are used to give the combining ratios that make up the
compound, such errors would be made In answering the questions. This error
is significant in that it shows students do not understand how atoms combine to
form compounds. Also when asked to use the magnets to represent the
particles in the balanced equation, all the students from the control class had
the most difficulty. These students commented to me that they really did not
understand atoms or molecules or I can balance equations but I dont know
what the difference is between an atom or molecule. Three of the students
incorrectly named the particles. Atoms in the balanced equations were called
molecules and molecules were called atoms In many of their explanations.
Only one of the students had no difficulty balancing an equation and explaining
the difference between atoms and molecules with relation to what he did. He
used the magnets in his explanation and in checking to see that the equations
were balanced. He was from the experimental group.
These results indicate that the topic of balancing chemical equations Is
complex and student comprehension may require more than one time learning
the topic. The ACS textbook CHEMCOM addresses this issue. One of ACSs


APPENDIX I
ANALYSIS OF TOTAL POSTTEST
& VISUALIZATION SCORES


57
Information derived from one teachers comments indicated that the
students began to visualize the orientation or three dimensional structure of the
substance. While working with the magnets to balance equations, students
asked the teacher questions relating to bonding, bond orientation, and
structural geometry of the molecules. For example, when they placed two
magnets together to represent a molecule, they asked what type of bond held
the two particles together. Students also asked how the atoms should be
arranged when putting several of these magnets together to make a compound.
This second question was asked of all three teachers. The teachers
commented that the practice with magnets enhanced student comprehension of
the above topics when these topics were taught at a later date.
This study confirms the results of Yarroch (1986) and Gabel and
Schrader (1987) in that traditional chemistry instruction does not emphasize the
underlying concepts related to conservation of mass and balancing equations.
Students come out of chemistry classes able to balance equations without
understanding the reactions at the molecular level. Students In both the
control and experimental group could balance equations given the basic
equation. The study indicates that an effective way to enhance comprehension
of atoms and molecules is to use three dimensional models. Also the models
were used for all three Instructional levels: phenomena, symbolic and abstract.
Instruction with models should link the concept to the actual reaction observed
by the students, to the symbolic representation and to the atomic/molecular
description of the reaction.
The interviews allow us to look at some common misconceptions relating
to balancing equations and conservation of mass. Many students could not tell


84
Part III: Balancing 2 point each
Directions: Balance the following equations
and tell what type of reaction it is:
18. NaCIC>3 NaCI + O2
19. C3H8 + O2 CO + H2O
20. NH4NO2 N2 + H2O
21. Zn + HNO3 Zn(N3)2 + H2
22.A student placed 8.25 grams of aluminum metal into an
aqueous hydrochloric acid solution. All of the aluminum reacted to
form aluminum chloride and hydrogen gas. No precipitate was
observed. The student later evaporated the water to leave solid
aluminum chloride. Write the balanced equation for the above
reaction and use the correct symbols for the physical state of each
substance involved.
Part IV. Types of Reactions
Directions: For each of the following reaction tell what
type of reaction it is and name each product and reactant.
2 points each
23.ZnCl2 + 2 AgNC>3 Zn(NC>3)2 + 2 AgCI
24.4 Na + O2 >2 Na20
25.2 LiF > 2 Li + F2


33
encountered, and any other ideas they might have about the curriculum or
instruction. During the instructional period, two days were videotaped for each
group. The focus of the videotapes was on how students interacted with the
manipulatives and on verification that the instructors were following the lesson
plans correctly.
The difference between the experimental and control curriculum package
was in the use of hands-on three-dimensional manipulatives and two-
dimensional models to represent atoms and molecules. Traditionally, chemistry
instruction does not include these manipulatives in the study of conservation of
mass and balancing equations. The experimental group worked with the
hands-on manipulatives and two-dimensional models, while the control groups
received traditional instruction. After the entire curriculum had been
implemented, all students took a post-content test.
Approximately 2 weeks after the unit, I interviewed two students from
each class, for a total of 12 students, with a semi-structured interview protocol.
The purpose of the interview was to identify any misconceptions and/or non
learning that had taken place. One student at a time was interviewed in a room
adjacent to the classroom. Students were given a set of magnets and their use
was explained. Then the students were given a set of chemical equations to
balance. Instructions were given to the students and they were asked to talk
aloud while they were working the problem. I recorded all student comments
and how they used the magnets. After they completed each question, I asked
them to explain the reasoning behind any errors I noted when they were solving
the problem. Further student comments were recorded from this information.
Appendix C contains the student interview sheet and protocol.
A pilot version of this study was conducted on 60 students in Alachua


43
following groups: Group 4 and 3, Group 4 and 2. The greatest significant
difference existed between Group 4 and 2. The analysis for the total posttest
score indicates a significant difference on achievement between Group 4 and
2 only. Appendix F contains this analysis and graph. This information is
consistent with the findings of Haidar and Abraham (1991) and Gabel, Samuel,
and Hunn (1987). Their studies found that students at a higher formal
reasoning level performed better than students at a concrete level.
Table 4-5
Table of Posttest Scores for Formal Reasoning Groups of Total Group
Means of Posttest Score
Part 1
Part 2
Total
n
High Formal (Group 5)
20.43
5.71
26.14
7
Low Formal (Group 4)
26.00
9.57
35.57
14
Transitional (Group 3)
24.26
4.95
29.21
19
High Concrete (Group 2)
19.38
2.25
21.62
40
Low Concrete (Group 1)
18.40
4.00
22.40
5
An ANOVA on the total posttest score (both content and visualization)
and formal reasoning scores indicated that there was a significant relationship
between chemistry achievement and ATFR. Chemistry content requires
students to comprehend concepts that are often abstract. Therefore, it seems
reasonable that students who have a higher level of formal reasoning, dealing
with abstract ideas, would have higher achievement in chemistry. This is
consistent with research by Marek (1986) and Simpson (1986). The results are
shown in Table 4-6.
An analysis was run examining these two effects on each part of the
posttest, part 1 and part 2. Part 1 of the test measures traditional content, and


8
2. It is assumed that there will be no systematic variation in the
instruction between the three teachers and they will all implement the
curriculum as instructed.


55
dimensional particles. Because this topic covers material that is abstract and
requires a higher level of formal reasoning, it was hypothesized that students
with a higher formal reasoning skill would have higher achievement on the
content. The final analysis examined the effect of all the variables on chemistry
achievement.
The study sought to answer four questions related to chemistry
achievement at the high school level. The questions are stated below.
1. Is there a difference in content performance related to instructional
method?
2. Is there a difference in content performance related to visualization
ability?
3. Is there a difference in content performance related to reasoning
ability?
4 Is there a difference in content performance related to the combined
effect of visualization, instructional method, or reasoning ability?
The first three questions examine chemistry achievement on the posttest
measure and three independent variables of visualization ability, instructional
method and reasoning ability. The fourth question examined chemistry
achievement in terms of an interaction of any or all the the variables.
From the analyses, the following conclusions were drawn.
1. Given the same conceptual content, students in the experimental
group using the hands-on visual models had a significantly higher post test
score on the content achievement measured than did the control group.
Comprehension of the abstract concepts of atoms and molecules was
enhanced by using this method of Instruction.


82
8. Which of the following may be changed when
balancing chemical equations?
a. oxidation numbers
b. subscripts
c. atomic numbers
d. coefficients
9. What coefficient should be placed before water
when the following equation is balanced?
Fe(OH)3 Fe203 + H2O
a. 3
b. 2
c. 6
d. 4
10. The general form for a double replacement reaction
is:
a. element + compound - element + compound
b. compound + compound compound + compound
c. compound * two or more elements or compounds
d. element or compound + element or compound >
compound
11. As a student reacts zinc and hydrochloric acid in a
flask, he observes that the flask becomes hot. He should classify
this reaction as:
a. thermonuclear
b. synthesis
c. endothermic
d. exothermic
12. H2 + CI2 > 2 HCI is an example of what type of
reaction?
a. synthesis
b. single replacement
c. decomposition
d. double replacement


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
SSI
:ia Ash
'UTSs
Patricia Ashton,
Professor of Foundations of
Education
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of
Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December, 1995
Dean, College of Education
x
Dean, Graduate School


31
of Pennsylvania, worked with the investigator on wording and degree of
difficulty. Another step in validation was done by checking to see that each test
question corresponded to the appropriate topic. One science professor and
three chemistry teachers coded the questions as to topics; ( e g., conservation
of mass, energy relationships, types of reactions, balancing equations). There
was 98% agreement between the professor and the investigator and 99%
agreement between the teachers and the investigator. Changes were made on
the questions that were not in total agreement.
The test was then given to 60 students in a local high school chemistry
class. Two weeks later the test was given again. Test-retest reliabilities were
determined for the tests. No significant differences were found between the
scores on the pretest and scores on the posttest. Appendix B contains a copy
of the content test.
Formal Reasoning Test
Numerous research studies have shown that reasoning is an integral part
of intellectual performance (Piaget, 1960; Thurstone, 1938). Piaget and
lnhelder(1958) developed individual tests that assessed formal reasoning.
Several paper and pencil tests have been created to measure reasoning (Arlin,
1982; Lawson, 1978; Raven, 1973) based on these tests by Piaget and
Inhelder. These paper and pencil tests were developed so that large numbers
of students could be assessed in a minimum amount of time. Arlin (1982)
developed a paper and pencil test based on the developmental theory of Piaget
and Inhelder. According to Piaget (1958), students pass through four distinct
stages in their development from childhood to adult. These four stages of
intellectual development are the sensorimotor stage, from birth to age 2; pre-
operational stage, from age 2 to age 7; concrete operational, from age 7 to age


types of reactions
Relate each of the above to the
three concept levels:
phenomena, symbolically, and
atomic/molecularly.
Practice balancing equations with
students and identifying the type of
reactions
Day 11: Topic
Review
15 min
Grade homework. Review
concepts again.
Go over any conceptual problems
the students might have after
grading the homework.
30 min
Students work in groups of two to
study and help each other prepare
for test. Students are given a list of
objectives for test they can study
from.
Day 12: Topic
Chapter Test
55 min
See attached sheet for copy of test.


6
treatments of the chemistry topic change depending upon the various levels of
student spatial ability?
3. Will the difference in mean posttest content scores for the two
treatments of the chemistry topic vary according to formal reasoning level of
students?
4. Will student visual spatial ability and formal reasoning ability influence
achievement?
5. What changes in conceptions regarding atoms and molecules occur
as a result of a visual spatial instruction?
Research Hypotheses
To answer the research questions the following null hypotheses will be
tested.
1. There is no significant difference in the effectiveness of treatment as
measured by the means on the student content posttest.
2. There is no significant difference in effectiveness of treatment as
measured by various levels of student spatial ability (low/medium/high).
3. There is no significant difference in effectiveness of treatment as
measured by formal reasoning level (low concrete, high concrete, transitional,
low formal, and high formal) of students.
4. There is no significant difference in effectiveness of treatment when
both formal reasoning ability and visual spatial ability interactions are
examined.
5. There is no change in students comprehension of atoms/molecules
as it relates to conservation of mass and balancing of equations.


54
The study was conducted in three Florida high schools. One hundred
and eleven students and three instructors, one from each school, participated in
the study. The students were taking chemistry. Each teacher had one control
and one experimental study group, for a total of six chemistry classes. The
students were in grades 11 and 12 in rural high schools with equivalent
socioeconomic backgrounds. In each case, the chemistry classes of each
teacher were randomly assigned to the control and experimental group.
The students took a precontent test to determine whether the classes
were equivalent in chemistry knowledge at the start of the investigation.
Statistical analyses were done to determine if there was a relationship between
the chemistry achievement after instruction and each mediating variable. The
mediating variables were the precontent test score, the three spatial tests, and a
formal reasoning test. The interaction of these variables and chemistry
achievement was also evaluated. It was hypothesized that a strongly visual
treatment of chemistry content would improve chemistry comprehension on a
defined set of topics. The study also investigated related questions, namely, the
extent to which visualization skills as measured by the Hidden Figures Test and
Formal Reasoning affected achievement outcomes.
Summary of the Results
It was hypothesized that instruction using three dimensional models
would enhance the comprehension of atoms, molecules and balancing
equations. Students who received this instruction were expected to have
greater comprehension than students who did not receive the instruction. It
was also hypothesized that students who had better visualization skills would
have a higher achievement on the content. Visualization skills are a critical part
of chemistry, from observation skills to manipulating two dimensional and three


56
Part 2 of the post content test utilized a visual means to examine student
comprehension of the atomic/molecular level of conservation of mass and
balancing chemical equations. The following examples taken from this part of
the test illustrate some of the differences in the test responses between
treatment and control group. Students were asked to draw pictures
representing the particles in the chemical reaction. The following question is
representative of a question from part 2 of the test.
Sample Question: The balanced equation for the decomposition of water is:
2H20 => 2 H2 + 02
Show how the reaction would look using the following symbols. Let 0
stand for oxygen and for hydrogen atoms. Draw the atoms/molecules for the
reaction and describe the reaction in terms of atoms and molecules.
Typical answer:
oo : oo
Several items distinguished the students in the treatment group from
those in the control group. First, the majority of treatment students showed
conservation of mass with the particles on their drawings. That is to say, their
drawings indicated equal number of particles on both sides of the chemical
equation. Second, their drawings also correctly indicated which particles in the
reactions were atoms and which were molecules. This mastery is important for
the comprehension of further chemical concepts. Students from the control
group were less likely to exhibit these responses. Quite often they did not even
attempt to answer the questions. Examples of their answers to the question are
below:
£3 £3 > 0000 + O
Vo O O


62
2. How do students learn the information (e g.,facts, concepts) that make
up chemistry?
Traditional chemistry instruction focuses on the algorithm of balancing
equations. Students typically memorize the algorithm and then use it. They do
not make the link between what they see in a laboratory experiment and what
is written symbolically. After a period of time, usually less than 2 weeks, the
algorithm is forgotten and students do not remember how to balance equations.
This became very obvious when the content test was initially field tested with
two chemistry classes. These classes had studied conservation of mass and
balancing equations within the last 2 weeks. Student achievement on the test
was approximately 20-25%, indicating they had quickly forgotten the material.
Postinstruction interviews with students from the control group showed
that they could not balance equations easily. They could not describe the
particles that made up the chemical equation in terms of atoms or molecules,
and when asked to explain the law of conservation of mass, numerous students
said they did not know what it was.
During the follow-up interviews, students were asked to transcribe a
chemical word equation into a symbolic equation, balance it, and describe the
particles. For example, this word equation was used: Magnesium reacts with
oxygen to yield magnesium oxide. Students in both control and experimental
groups had some difficulty performing this task. They could write the symbols
for the elements, magnesium and oxygen. Rarely did they show oxygen as a
diatomic molecule. The formula for magnesium oxide was also misrepresented.
Two common examples of answers for this reaction from students were
Mg + O ----> MgO and Mg + 02 > Mg02


F Analysis of Total Posttest & ATFR code 94
G Analysis of Parti Posttest & Visualization scores. ... 96
H Analysis of Part2 Posttest & Visualization scores. ... 98
I Analysis of Total Posttest & Visualization scores.. 100
REFERENCES 102
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 108
v


29
Students must mentally execute several operations in trying to match pieces
against the whole. The pieces must be grouped in various combinations and
some of the pieces must be rotated and then combined.
The test consists of a whole figure with several pieces that may fit
together to make the figure shown below. The student must choose from two to
five of these individual pieces to complete the figure. An example is in Figure 3-
2. The test contains 24 items. This test was selected because it measures the
more complex ability to manipulate two-dimensional figures composed of
individual pieces. Again the test was not timed as the investigation was not
looking for speed but overall ability. This test was selected due to the similar
process used in the synthesis of molecules from atoms in chemical reactions.
hx A b k
0 0 0 0
Figure 3-2. Sample Form Board Problem
Hidden Figures Test
The Hidden Figures Test was taken from the Longitudinal School
Mathematics Study. It was adapted from the Hidden Figures Test, a part of the
Kit of Reference Tests for Cognitive Factors. The task is one of disembedding a
simple figure from a complex pattern that has been organized to obscure or
embed the simple figure. The test is a variation of the Group Embedded Figure
Test, which measures field dependence and independence, a component of
spatial ability.


TOPIC: BALANCING CHEMICAL EQUATIONS
AND CONSERVATION OF MASS
OBJECTIVES
INSTRUCTIONAL
1. To define chemical reaction and list the
reactants and products in a given reaction.
2. To use the correct symbols for the physical
state of each substance involved in chemical
equations.
3. To distinguish a chemical reaction from a
chemical equation and state what it means for
an equation to be balanced.
4. To distinguish subscripts and coefficients in
chemical equations.
5. To write balanced equations given names
and/or formulas for reactants and products.
6. To classify a given reaction as one of these
four types: single replacement, double
replacement, decomposition or synthesis.
7. To define each of the four types of reaction.
8. To predict the products and balance the
equation when given the reactants for one of
these four types of reactions.
9. To define stoichiometry
12. To differentiate the characteristics of
exothermic and endothermic reactions.
LABORATORY
1. To determine experimentally whether mass
is conserved in a particular set of chemical
reactions.
2. To observe some chemical reactions and
identify reactants and products of those
reactions.
3. To classify the reactions and write
balanced equations
4. To find the ratio of moles of a reactant to
moles of a product in a chemical reaction. To
relate this ratio to the coefficients of these
substances in the balanced equation for the
reaction
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